On ATSIT and Moral Ambiguity

So, there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding my characterizations in All The Stars In Texas, so I figured I’d write a little meta and hopefully clear things up. While ATSIT is meant to be fun and action-packed, there are some pretty heavy thematic elements involved. I touch on a lot of things – how circumstances and trauma can shape who a person becomes, how the weight of responsibility can damage a person, how the grass isn’t always necessarily greener on the other side of the fence – but my biggest theme, the one that it’s very important to me that people understand, is that of gray morality.

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anonymous asked:

We already know some stuff about Michael and a little bit about the twins, but can we have some more details on the Bodtlings (personalities, what they like/dislike, what they've been doing since Marco left, stuff like that)?

MILES (27) - Very much a level-headed, Lawful Good kinda guy. Soft-spoken but authoritative, has a commanding presence about him. He’s about 6’5” and built like a brick house. Big bara teddy bear. He’s also super concerned and self-sacrificial when it comes to his family, be it his siblings or his own kids, now that he has them (two little girls and wife, Emily; all of them live in Austin). He’s the type of person who goes miles out of his way to make sure everyone is safe and happy. He’s a Texas Ranger and mainly does work involving maintaining the peace in rural areas, catching cattle rustlers, etc.

MADDOX (25) - Loud, boisterous, definitely the funny one in the family. Always cracking jokes and coming up with pranks. Whenever things get tense, Maddox is usually the one trying to divert the situation and say something funny. This was something that kept a lot of dinner table head-butting between a sharp-tongued adolescent Marco and Pa from turning out very badly. He and Matt and both of their families still live in Telico and help Ma and Pa run the ranch. He’s got a wife, Deb, and three kids, a daughter and two hellion twin boys.

MATTHEW (25) - Doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s pure concentrated sass. More action-oriented than his twin. Fiercely protective of his siblings, especially the younger ones. Matt was basically a one-man Marco Protection Squad back in the day. You messed with his baby brother, you ended up with a black eye. He’s transferred that protective instinct to Maura since the incident four years ago, and Maura could not be more exasperated about it. Has a wife, Chelsea, but she can’t have kids. But since the twins and their families all live in Telico still, Maddox’s kids pretty much see Uncle Matt and Aunt Chels as a second set of parents anyway. The two family units are very close-knit.

MARTIN (24) - Very soft-spoken and VERY intelligent. Has a lot of health problems because he was born very prematurely, including a really bad case of asthma and bad eyesight that requires super thick glasses. Always felt like a burden growing up, kept to his books and himself and tried to stay out of everyone’s way. Ma and Pa were pretty harsh on him for being the “weakling” out of his brothers (especially because asthma was thought to be a psychosomatic issue in the 30’s: “It’s all in your head, Martin, stop being dramatic.”), and he got out of Telico as soon as he was able in order to escape to college. He became an accountant, spent a couple months in Mexico City doing work for a big company. That’s where he met his wife (as of six months before ATSIT ch1) Gianina, who was working as a model for the company’s posters at the time. He had an asthma attack and literally fainted into her arms. It was cute. They live in Austin a few blocks over from Miles’ family, and they’ve got a baby on the way.

MICHAEL (21) - Mick. My baby. Moon of my life. My sun and stars. Michael Bodt is everything to me. He’s a smooth-talking, slimy used car salesman type that actively revels in his own sliminess. Marco’s criminal endeavors had their start with Michael, the two of them hustling kids for lunch money and walking around town dressed up like sick orphans (“You see these spots on my baby brother’s face, mister? He’s a leper.”) to embezzle people for “donations.” Michael’s got a more level head on his shoulders than Marco, though, and thinks of everything like a chessboard. Marco’s got his plans, but Michael’s got his game and is always five steps ahead. He’s got a talent for self-preservation, part of the reason he never acted on the fact that he’s very, very pansexual until he was hell and gone from Texas. Officially, his job is a traveling salesman, but what he’s selling depends on which way the wind is blowing that day, and the truth is that he’s a professional con artist. He could steal the shirt off your back and sell it back to you at twice the price before you even knew it was gone. Oh. And I forgot to mention that he’s got a thing for cute mechanics with green eyes and grumpy attitudes.

MAURA (10) - Maura, as Marco said, has a fair bit of similarities to one Ninette Kirschtein. She’s spunky, a free spirit, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. However, growing up in such a strict household has tempered her, made her more able to hold her tongue and hang back to assess the situation before she charges in with proverbial guns blazing. She’s exceptionally good at playing a part to get what she wants, even at such a young age, a skill she probably picked up from Michael and Marco, both of whom she was extremely close to as a young child. Currently, she’s become more bitter than a ten year old should probably be. Marco “died,” Michael ran off and she has no idea why, and she generally just feels very abandoned. I picture her as very much a Sansa Stark character, silk hiding steel. Her sweet disposition doesn’t mean that she trusts anyone.