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Annie: The Real and The Made-Up Character

In the world of storytelling, characters are the beating heart of the tale and often reflect personal experiences and emotions. Annie the Porcupine is more than the character of my stories; she's a piece of my heart and a tribute to my first true love, Angelia Christine Juanita Hurst.

Angelia, known to all as Annie, entered the world on November 16, 1990. We had many great adventures, and I think that we both did our fair share of growing up. Annie had a unique personality; she could be prickly as a porcupine but also had a heart of gold. It seemed fitting to not only name my main character after her, but to immortalize her spirit in the only animal that seemed fitting, a porcupine. The animal that can be cute but watch out for the quills.

Creating Annie the Porcupine was a true labor of love. I wanted to create a character that not only mirrored the real Annie but also echoed my own childhood experiences. I wanted Annie to possess the same "if looks could kill" talent that Angelia had - the ability to convey thoughts and feelings without saying a word. It was a skill that I lacked during my own childhood. I was the kind of child who internalized all those feelings, allowing them to gnaw at me rather than expressing them.

Although the words shared are my narrative, it is Alexandra's illustrations that showed the essence of how Annie felt experiencing it. From the first illustration, it was obvious that Alexandra had the talent to breathe life into Annie. She was able to capture the real Annie's personality and the feelings and thoughts of Annie the Porcupine. Her fear of being different, her hurt at being talked about, and her sadness about being left out. Annie is cute, but just like her namesake, watch out for the quills.

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