Character Profile: Charlie

July 21, 2016 Writing  2 comments

Charlie Benson
Jamie’s Dad

46 years old
DOB: September 12, 1965

Lean angular face
Black hair with some gray, dark brown, gray eyes
Lean, tall body with compact muscles – boxes at gym with Jacob
Scruffy goatee most of the time
Both ears pierced, small silver hoops

Wears big chunky, silver rings & black leather cuff Brantley Gilbert style 
Wears his and Amy’s wedding bands on silver chain around his neck
Generally wears blue or black jeans with black boots, simple t-shirts, sometimes plaid, sometimes jean jacket 



1.) Take care of his family

  • longs deeply for his kids to be better than him – wants them to get more out of life than he has, wants to have relationships with them but doesn’t really know how to do that

2.) Run bar (feels at home there)

3.) Improve boxing technique & stamina

4.) Be better

  • reconnect with music
  • move on from Amy



Charlie let’s Jamie take control of family life, and ever since Amy left, has let her take on the role of primary parent on Nathan.

Family eats mostly on the go (Subway, Little Caesars, and Einstein Bagels right on the corner by the bar – also bar food). Jamie does most of the grocery shopping at the local grocery store when she has time. Puts in more of an effort during summer vacation to have food at home.

Always makes sure Nate has money (lunch money, going out money, money for sports)

Charlie attends as many of Nate’s basketball games as he can (Jacob, Stacy cover him)
Does the laundry – makes sure Nate’s jersey and equipment are clean

Helps out with Jamie’s tuition as much as he can

Hard-working to support his family. Works 60+ hours a week.

Gruff, but cares and loves his children very deeply. Sometimes disconnect between his feelings and outward expression of them.

Charlie feels that he has disappointed and let down his children, but he feels at a loss as to what to do about it because he still feels so broken. However, they are more of a family than any of them realizes.

Very sad at the thought of both of his children leaving home, but doesn’t want to show it. Or what to do about it.

Trusts his children to make their own decisions, for better or for worse.

Heartbroken ever since Amy left him, feels like a failure. Carries so much guilt and blame for trying to make Amy have this life with him.
           Blames her. Blames himself. Mad at her. Mad at himself.  It is the center of his entire operating system.
          A part of him believed in the fate of them more than the reality of them.


Stays late at bar almost every night (till closing) either tending bar or in his office, playing solitaire.

Very attached to long-haired black and brown domestic cat – Jack Tennessee Daniels. Jack lives mostly at the bar, but comes home with Charlie from time to time. 

Musician at heart. Depressed because he is missing a huge part of who he is: playing and writing his own music. (His Jungian shadow)

Influenced heavily by Johnny Cash.

Used to play publicly with Amy, but stopped when she left.

His guitar sits in his office and haunts him.

Still listens to a lot of music. U2 is his favorite.

Raised catholic

Irish descent (Benson means “blessed warrior” – derived from Benedict and a form of the Old Norse name Bjorn. Bjorn is the name my dad took when he became a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.) 

Has two brothers, Henry and Ben, who both live out of state – California and Colorado, respectively. Talks to them on the phone every now and then. They come back to Detroit for Christmas. Charlie hosts them. One of them is single and childless (occupation: world photographer).

Great respect for his parents. Held on to his father’s hand as he died.

He had to come back to run the bar after both parents died.


What does Charlie hold on to?

His kids – believes they are the best thing he will ever do in this world, never regrets them for a second

The power of music to transform, to move, to understand

His friendships with Jacob and some of the regular’s

The sanctity of a quiet bar, the souls it harbors in the daylight and neon bar lights

His heritage: visits the church on both his parents birthdays, their deaths, Jamie and Nate’s birthdays, and February 25th – the day Amy left. He doesn’t believe in the religion, but he finds sanctuary, peace, and comfort in the church. Family attends Mass on Christmas and Easter

His hometown

The release from boxing, reminiscent of his performing days

The exhilaration of being on stage, the heat of the lights on his skin, the rhapsody of the music, the energy from the crowd 

His bar

His drink at the end of the day, his cup of coffee in the morning




Virgo’s perception is their reality, more so then other astrology signs. What they believe is what will be, if they have a negative outlook on life, things will present themselves to be negative and they will be very moody and isolated/detached.

The Virgo man has a cool exterior with a sensitive interior. Reluctant to express his own emotions.

Analytical, observant, helpful, reliable, precise,  practical, loyal, hardworking, kind

Skeptical, fussy, inflexible, cold, interfering, worry, shyness, overly critical of self and others, all work no play

Charismatic Marks
A certain, reserved manner marks the classic Virgo.

Cleanliness, animals, healthy foods, books, nature

Taking center stage, rudeness, asking for help

Best Environment
Virgo is most at home in the company of animals and close to nature. Virgo likes power and enjoys being the sidekick or indispensable assistant.

*As a Virgo myself, I relate a lot to Charlie’s cool, distant disposition. I see a lot of myself in him. Especially his inability to express how he feels about others in direct ways.


Author notes: Charlie evaded me for a very long time. He was very difficult for me to figure out. In the first draft of the book, he was a complete brick-wall hard-ass. I knew I had to soften him out, but I couldn’t do that until I figured him out.  In one of those divine moments we writers live for, he came to me in a flash during the second draft. I spent a few hours with him that day, getting to know him. And then everything made sense, he made sense. Even small details that I had already put in the story, but didn’t realize why they were there clicked into place (so fun when that happens).

Charlie is either going to be someone you love or someone you have no feelings towards, I think. But he is one of my favorite characters (okay, you got me, they’re all my favorite) because despite his inability to show a lot of warmth and physical affection, he does the best he can to show his kids how much he loves him and how much he cares for them, in the ways that he can. In the ways that he knows how. 

After I understood Charlie, writing his scenes became some of the most challenging and rewarding writing I’ve done so far. Those scenes really stretched my ability to convey how people speak, the things they say, how they say them, and more importantly, the things they don’t say and why they don’t say them. 

Charlie has a lot of depth. He harbors a lot of disappointment, but also, a lot of love. And yet, he isn’t really equipped with the words–or the desire–to express those feelings, so those moments where he is actually engaging with other people tends to be raw and intense and rough around the edges. What appears on the page with him is nothing but stark reality. It’s like he does not possess the ability to sugar coat anything. I know that’s something I appreciate; those ugly honest moments move me every time I witness them, and I hope that my readers are able to experience that as well through Charlie. 


Up next: exploring Charlie’s musical influences 

Until next time, farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity. 

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2 comments to Character Profile: Charlie

  • […] Character Profile: Charlie […]

  • […] Charlie has been looking back at that note on the table for the past nine years. And just like Jamie, everything he does, everything he is, is marked by that moment. It is his most defining characteristic. […]

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