Mar 6, 2010 Saturday
One thing I love about writing, and reading for that matter, is learning about human nature. People are so extremely fascinating.
I read something from the book "Characters & Viewpoint" by Orson Scott Card, about how almost all of us have "one personality at work, another on the phone, another with the children, still another alone with our spouse... With each set of relationships, we have a different history, different in-jokes, different shared experiences. We act with different motives. We do different things... When relationships are interrupted or fade away, the self that belonged in that relationship stays the same. Getting together with old buddies you haven't seen since high school, you tend to become the same person you were when you all used to hang out together... It is one of the most startling and effective devices in fiction to take characters out of one setting and put them in another, where different facets of their personality come to the fore. The character himself may be surprised to realize who he becomes when circumstances change."
That is so true with relationships. I've mourned losses of friendships I was close to in the past, angry that life has to change. I always wondered why; why does it matter? I can make new friends. I can talk to anyone about screaming kids and good deals at the grocery store. Why do I need that particular friendship, and why do I miss it so much? I think Card hit the nail on the mark. It's because I'm missing myself. I'm missing who I was in that relationship. When they disappeared, so did that side of me.
I think that's one reason I love getting together with my siblings. It's like getting together with your old self again, saying "Hi, I missed you. Where have you been?" Next you're going to ask me how many personalities I have? =)
I also think this is a key to breaking bad habits in ourselves. They say if you're trying to break a drug addiction it's critical to break your ties with those friends. I can see why. It's really yourself you're trying to break free from. It's true with anything you're trying to change, even dieting. There are people I will unavoidably pig out with. That's who I am with them. I immediately enter a comfort zone where chocolate has no calories and donuts are health food. If you want to change, you must avoid those friends and places that tempt, and perhaps you'll be "surprised to realize who (you) become when circumstances change."
Fiction has a lot of truth in it.