Black President by Rick Schmidt


In BLACK PRESIDENT there are some surprising simularities between my central character, President-Elect Jackson Little, and that of Democratic Nominee Barack Obama. Here are some synchronistic connections that fell into my story, as I developed it pre-9/11.

1.  Because I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and felt comfortable with recreating the landscape there, I made my BLACK PRESIDENT character relocate to the South Side with his brother and mother.   And there he became an Alderman and Assemblyman on his way to a Senate seat.  Obama followed the same course, winning those seats and becoming nationally prominent a couple years after I finished the novel’s first draft.

2. I figured that by 2012 only Caroline Kennedy would have the political caché to be a viable Democratic candidate, so I had her running at the top of her party’s ticket.  Some thought this was extremely outlandish, since she had publically dispelled any interest in politics in past newspaper articles and interviews.  But in 2008 Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg jumped into helping Obama as the head of his V.P. search committee!  And Michael Moore thought she should run as his VP, should select HERSELF as Cheney had done when he was the head of Bush’s committee!   Anyway, these are a few of the coincidences that came my way, realities catching up with my fiction!

It always has seemed that synchronicity has been the gift that the universe offers up whenever I’ve launched into a creative project.  When I was beginning the scripting my 4th indie feature, MORGAN’S CAKE (shown at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Intl., etc.), I knew the movie was about a young man about to turn 18 (I imagined the blowing out of candles on his cake). The lead role was set to be played by my son Morgan, who, in real life, had considered resisting the U.S. draft by not registering on his 18th birthday…So I was creating a movie around his real concerns, as a young person coming of age in 1988.  FYI: Morgan had been named after the Morgan character in the great Karel Reisz comedy ‘MORGAN- A suitable Case For Treatment’ (1966).   In any case, I felt my ‘Morgan’ story was missing some kind of plot point and I wasn’t going to shoot anything until I figured out what it was.  As my creative antenna was scanning the known horizons for answers I spotted a blurb in a local newspaper, which stated, ‘It is illegal to make a pastry in the shape of the White House.’  Suddenly I realized that Morgan could protest the war by baking a cake!   Embracing that concept, I was suddenly gifted with a strong ending, plus an original movie title.  I’m sure my fellow Picnic bloggers have experienced such revelatory synchronistic experiences while doing research on their novels, illustrating books, or creating other kinds of original artworks.

I will be blogging again soon.  Meantime, I handover to Gisela Hoyle and The White Kudu with very best wishes to her and the Picnic community.

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