You never find the path to your true self, but rather,
you find your true self along the path.
This afternoon, on the way down to the cafeteria at work, I pondered what I was going to write about on my blog today. As usual, it was meager pickin’s at the caf, so I plucked two bottles of water from the fridge and went straight to the register. I am so predictable that the staff already added up everything for me because I get two bottles of water every day. As I fork over the cash, Phil Collins is singing “True Colors” in the background on the radio. Along my trek back to the office, I kept rolling the words “true colors” around in my head like dough, trying to shape it until I could put it into my creative oven and bake a post out of it. Of course, this meant Phil Collins would have a True Colors concert in my head for the rest of the day.
Later this evening, as my sister, Sydney and I were cooking dinner, she gets into one of her philosophical moods—scratch that, she is always philosophical.
“Do you think that our characters are a part of who we are?” she asked. “Are they the people we truly are, or are they the people we wish we could be?”
Oh, great, time for introspection. And all before dinner.
She asked me about Deanna Taylor, one of the main characters in my story, Timeless. Deanna is somewhat of an icon around the house. She is known for her sassy but classy, take-no-prisoners attitude.
“How much of Deanna is really you?” Syd asked.
Knowing me as well as she does, Sydney has seen the “Deanna” side of my personality come out from time to time, especially if someone is messing with me or my loved ones. But she had posed a very good question. How much of Deanna is actually a part of me? If so, is that who I really am or just who I wish I was?
I don’t know about anyone else, but being a writer gives me a chance to “act” as different characters in different situations. It gives me the chance to be bold or shy, good or bad, funny or serious. However, I do notice that a little bit of me is in every character I write, especially my main characters. But really, instead of writing myself into the story, I find myself as I write my story. I discover my strengths and weaknesses through my characters, and I am the better for it.
Talk about psychoanalysis.
But to answer Sydney’s question, Deanna is probably more like me than any of the other characters I have created. When a situation turns bad, and someone is trying to walk all over me, I won’t take it lying down. But at the same time, I’m a lot less tough than I act sometimes.
So, how about you? Do your true colors show through your characters? Are they who you really are? Or are they who you wish you could be?