Growing up I read. A lot. A lot-lot.
Looking back I wonder which compulsion led me. The need to escape into another world? A desire to learn as much about life as I could? Dreams of knowing different people in different situations?
I have an uncanny ability to sit down and concentrate fully on things. Today I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter from cover to cover. Oh, it only took me about nine hours. Yes, I took two breaks to eat in there. Here I sit one book wiser and perfectly content with my day spent on the couch.
At some point during this it occurred to me that my views on life are directly shaped through what I have read in my life. When I meet people I ask them questions, searching for their main motivators and defining characteristics. Just like you seek out in any book. This person is keeping a secret that prevents them from being able to bond with their family. That person is scarred from being on the streets as a child, and therefore is self-abusive. Another person was saved from a life-threatening situation by a complete stranger, and now lives to repay the favor to as many strangers as possible.
My concepts of life fall into plot lines as well. Cheat or lie and you will be punished, if not by external forces than internal. Very often people do wrong things, often for what they believe to be the right reasons. Love and friendships really do rule the world.
What came to light today was one disturbing truth. Once broken a person tends to stay broken.
Think of supporting characters, they by far outnumber the main ones in any story. They more often than not have a flaw that drives them. These people may not always be unhappy, but are flawed all the same.
The reason the main character is the main character is because he or she overcomes something. Which is an experience that most of us seldom accomplish.
If you had to define yourself as a character in a book, and not the main one, how would you describe your central flaws? And don't cheese out here, let's talk underlying reasons too. In my book how would I define you?
Quite a mind shift eh? Often we ponder on how others see us, but do we ever look at ourselves as a compete defined character in a story? One in which we are NOT the main character? I know I hadn't before, and it was a bit of a shock on the ole' cerebellum.
In order to truly love someone you have to love what is wrong about a person before you can love what is right. If someone only knows your bright side they don't know you at all. So if you don't realize your own flaws, can you ever really love yourself?
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