Friday, June 27, 2008
I promise to comment on the poll soon, and to start a new one, but I realized it is time for my next 'young man' to make his appearance. For those of you who have read my novel COPPERHEAD, you know that I mention a dag in my dedication. This is the one I am talking about. The remarkable thing about this 150-plus year old photo is that it reflects an image that formed in my mind and took shape on paper long before I found it. Here's the story -
I first created my character Copperhead for the Daniel Boone fan-fiction that I write. He appears in the novel Blood Was Only For Bleeding as a secondary character to Mingo, who was his childhood friend. Copperhead is full blood Cherokee, but he was raised by a white man - a British general - and in time fell in love with the general's granddaughter, Miriam. I did a series of drawings for the story including one in colored pencil of Copperhead. The story debuted online and I moved on to other things.
One of my past-times is surfing Ebay, looking at items from the 1800s. I particularly like the old photos - ambrotypes, ferrotypes (tin types) and dags. I love to look at the faces. One night I was engaged in that pursuit when what I found stopped me dead. I looked at the dag and became more and more convinced that the young man in it was native passing as white. He was dressed as a white man, but the bone structure and everything about him shouted native - which he must have been well aware of. The other thing that attracted me was the look out of his eyes. It declares - I belong here. I dare you to challenge that I belong. The look is strong, wary and defiant. Then, I realized he looked exactly like the man I had drawn.
He was Copperhead.
I put a bid and and won the auction. The dag is sitting by me on my desk as I write this. He challenges me daily to keep telling stories for there are many out there that need to be told.