Beaufort Scales & Characters That Are More Than They Seem

Beaufort Scales & Characters That Are More Than They Seem

Here’s a thing that happened to me the other day.

I’d been having a lot of trouble with my shoulder, and attributed it to overdoing things on the weights, even though the problem appeared (weirdly) on a day off, while I was sat on the couch (conclusion: sitting on the couch is dangerous, kids. Don’t do it). I put up with it for a bit, popped some ibuprofen, did some stretches, but eventually decided enough was enough and that I should get it looked at. I’m marginally sensible in my old age.

My lovely friend, who’s a body psychotherapist, poked my back in a few places, laughed (laughed harder when I told her I’d done a one-armed workout that same morning, so now the other shoulder hurt too), and told me she’d fix it.

This consisted less of massage, and more of finding out what was stressing me enough to make my shoulder try and turn itself inside out.

She found it, and the exact details aren’t as important as the bit I want to talk about. I had to articulate some things about myself that were difficult for me to say, and it took me a while to get to it. And while I was struggling, she said, “You don’t have to say it to me. Say it to anyone that makes you feel comfortable. Say it to one of your characters.”

So I did.

I said this thing that was so hard for me to say to Beaufort Scales, High Lord of the Cloverly dragons and tea-drinking barbecue fan.

Because I could. I couldn’t say it before, but once I thought of Beaufort, I could. Which was awesome, and my shoulder’s been fine since then (not so much the other one that I did the one-armed workout on – that one took longer to clear up). But isn’t that a strange thing? That I could say something to a dragon that I couldn’t say to my friend? (That whole sentence is probably a little strange, but let’s just go with it and move on.)

And it made me look a little closer at Beaufort, an odd character who appeared out of nowhere, helped himself to a scone, created a little friendly disruption, and appears to be here to stay. My friend said that we don’t create our characters for no reason, and while I’m not sure this is always the case (hello zombie mice), I think she has a point with Beaufort.

I love writing his stories. I love seeing the world through his eyes. I love that he’s endlessly curious, and full of wonder and joy and compassion. And I love – I love – that he speaks to others. But I never really thought about it that much. He was just a lucky accident, a product of a misread tweet and a bizarre-as-normal conversation with my dad.

But people relate to him, somehow. People like him, not in a ‘he’s a cool character’ kind of way, but in an ‘I’d like to know him’ kind of way. More than one person has drawn him, in full detective mode or attempting to build a snowman before his breath melts it away, and it makes my heart terribly full with the sheer amazing-ness of it. That he’s alive for someone other than just me. One person said that he knew he could draw him because it was Beaufort, and it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t good. Even I drew him, and I’d believed since school that I couldn’t draw anything. And all of that was okay, because it didn’t have to be good. Because Beaufort would think all of it was wonderful. He would think all of you – all of us – are wonderful.

So maybe he’s more than just another character. Maybe he’s exactly who I needed, someone loyal and dragonish and amused and supportive. He was certainly who I needed to be talking to when I had to say something that challenged long-held beliefs about myself. Only he is me, too, so I guess that in a manner of speaking, I’ve found a way to talk to that part of me that sees the best in everything. In everyone.

Which is both wonderful, because I like to think that maybe I have the ability to do that, and disappointing, because I’d really like to have a cuppa and some cake with Beaufort, in front of a warm fire while the snow falls outside. Boo for not being able to jump into other worlds.

But there’s always the stories.

And that’s okay, too.

This is how I imagine it going.

So, lovely readers – what characters have you found over the years that you’ve particularly connected with, that have talked so clearly to you that you can’t forget them? And, lovely writers – what about you? What characters have you created that show you a different way to see the world? What characters have you learnt from? Let me know below!

And if you’ve missed the Beaufort stories – there’s only one to be found on the website menu at the mo, but you can find the rest through this link, because some days we all need a little Beaufort in our lives 🙂

18 Replies to “Beaufort Scales & Characters That Are More Than They Seem”

  1. I am still laughing and imaging you doing one-armed workout, Kim 😀
    Ah! Just the other day someone was talking about how negative emotions and beliefs cause pain, disease and illness and today you have said the same thing. Glad that you have Beaufort in your life and that he helped you heal too. I must look out for a Beaufort too. Hope you recover soon from the pain in your one-armed-workout arm 😀

    1. It’s quite amazing how we accumulate pain in our bodies due entirely to our emotions and thoughts. My friend’s fantastic at what she does, and I’ve learned a lot from her! Although not much about avoiding workouts when my body’s saying no, apparently…!

      And I hope you have some Beaufort-ness in your life. It’s important 🙂

  2. At first I understood that you had purposely made your other shoulder hurt with the one-armed workout to balance things out. This made sense in my mind.

    “So, lovely readers – what characters have you found over the years that you’ve particularly connected with, that have talked so clearly to you that you can’t forget them?”

    Beaufort! I don’t even think of him as a character… he’s very real to me.

    1. According to my friend, that was pretty much exactly what I had done, in order that the original pain couldn’t be distinguished so easily from the new one. Sneaky little sabotaging writer.

      And *hugs* I’m so glad Beaufort is real to you as well!

  3. While I continuously engage in monologues with myself in my mind, there has been no Beaufort for me. As for characters to express myself differently, there was a short lived noir series I used to write to showcase the darker thoughts within me… the tales that I would not normally have told as a writer.

    1. Oh, that must have been fun, writing in an entirely different genre! I’d love to try that, but I fear dragons would still sneak in somewhere…

  4. Hi Kim,
    Sorry to hear about your discomfort, and that you ascribed it to age. Nonsence! What kind of devilish daemon did whisper that into your ear?
    With Beaufort & friends you struck gold. Why? The stories take me back to an age/state-of-mind, where I would accept anything, like the stories of Thomas the tank-engine (rev. Awdry). Nice, friendly.

    I praised you before on your drawings. Those who ever tried drawing themselves knows how hard it is. Not perspective, or scaling, but the bare essentials. If you doubt it, look at Dick Bruna’s Miffy, or (my favorite) Max Velthuis’ Frog.

    I’m glad that you find in Beaufort another way of expressing yourselves.
    For me, ‘writing’ solves my lifelong desire to speak out. Lifelong introvert, afraid of offending others.
    Some of my characters dare to say all the things I never did, while sharing with them all fears, anxieties, hopes, while other characters face shame, miscommunications, misinterpretations, gender/age-gap etc etc.

    1. Characters do give us so much freedom to explore other aspects of ourselves – it’s a wonderful gift to have, getting to play around with words!

  5. Beaufort Scales is a truly great character, created by an awesome author, and deserves to be in a best-selling book. But to be honest … it’s Mortimer I really empathise with. I feel we share the same outlook on life.

    1. Thank you SO much 🙂 I hope Beaufort does get into a proper book one of these days, bestselling or not! He deserves a good story. And poor Mortimer – all he wants is a little peace, some tea and mince pies. It shouldn’t be a lot to ask for. It really shouldn’t.

  6. Oh, can I borrow Beaufort for a confession – I’ll have tea and scones? He might be a bit more sympathetic than my other fictional go-to, Esme Weatherwax, who can’t be having with that whinging…
    A toast on your shoulders, and that they dropped the psychological weight you were carrying! 🥂

    1. Oh, yes – Granny Weatherwax, while definitely someone you want on your side (and in your life), certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for a sympathetic ear. I’m sure Beaufort would be very happy to help out, and if there’s scones – well, he’s probably on his way already. 🙂

  7. Kim, you always sound so cheerful that it is difficult to imagine you being under the weather. Your Beaufort is adorable… “loyal and dragonish and amused and supportive” – I do hope he continues to take care of you and amuse you.

    1. Aw, thanks, Deepti! We all have our hard times – I just try not to let mine escape too much on social media (the cat hears ALL about it, though…). And I think Beaufort is here to stay – I hope so, anyway. I have too much fun writing his stories to let him go!

  8. Beaufort is certainly a character who’s not forgettable in the least. I get a kick out of Gilbert, myself, but all your characters have such depth. I’m glad they not only speak to you but that they listen to you!

    1. Thank you so much! I do wish they’d also listen to me when I tell them to do stuff, too, but some things we just have to live with… 😉 And I love Gilbert too – he was a side character that just had too much to him to stay there. I’m playing with a story idea for him at the moment.

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