Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who is in me?

I read a few chapters in Bird by Bird again tonight, and one of them dealt with characters. Anne Lamott said to look within onesself to find inspiration based on a facet of ones personality. She said, “You may find a con man, an orphan, a nurse, a king, a hooker, a preacher, a loser, a child, a crone. Go into each of these people and try to capture how each one feels, thinks, talks, survives.” I tried a little exercise where I wrote just a few sentences about the different "people" living within my personality. Some of the people were easy to write, but some were difficult. It only makes sense that the easy people were the parts about myself that I like, making the difficult people parts of my personality that I wish would remain hidden. So far, here is what I've come up with. I really like the idea of developing one or more of these snippets into characterizations. I think there are a lot more characters within my personality just waiting to get out, so maybe I'll post more snippets later. For now, here are my inner-persons:

A graphic designer who loves to find patterns and uniqueness in her surroundings. A person who loves type and finds beauty in written words. A girl who loves color in everything, clothing, jewelry, post-its, book covers. Someone who buys a 72 pack of colored pencils just for the fun of it because she likes looking at the range of different colors and experimenting with combinations. Someone who arranges her bookshelf by color, not by title or author, because it's more visually appealing.

A slacker who will do the bare minimum to get by. Someone who can spend all day on the internet and not accomplish one lick of work. A person who waits until the last possible minute to begin a task and then has to send emails of apology when she can't meet a deadline she's set for herself. A person who spends more time figuring out a short cut to a problem than it takes to actually solve the problem.

An absent minded flake who sets the TV remote down in the refrigerator as she's looking for a nighttime snack. Someone who asks whether instant mashed potatoes are white, like the real thing. A girl who leaves candles burning unattended and forgets to put the milk away after she's done covering her Special K. A person who forgets to return voicemails her friends have left days ago.

A sentimental genealogist who gets misty-eyed thumbing through black and white photographs of relatives she's never met. Someone who tries to think of what life must have been like for her ancestors and what they went through to give her the life she has today. A girl who cannot throw away any small piece of nostalgia. Someone who keeps movie stubs and concert tickets from dates even though she's sworn off ever talking to that guy again. A girl who has looked through every album and shoe box full of photos at her grandmas house and has memorized the stories behind the pictures so she can tell her cousins and children and grandchildren someday.

A mother hen who loves her family and would do anything for them. A girl, the oldest cousin in a family of criers, who gets nostalgic thinking about how well her smaller cousins are growing up. A devoted and loving family member who encourages her younger family members, takes them out to dinner, buys them gifts, and makes them feel special, because they are special to her.

A hopeless romantic who pictures the perfect family life of 3 kids and a black lab living in an impeccably designed home with the man of her dreams. A daydreamer who thinks of the perfect wedding, even though she's not even close to being engaged. Someone who enacts scenes in her head between herself and her boyfriend, thinking of all types of sweet and loving things for him to say to her.

An insecure teenager with an independent front who still wonders if people actually mean the compliments they give her. Someone who does not like to take handouts or ask for help for fear of seeming weak and needy. A girl who puts up a strong front but questions decisions she's made and looks for constant reassurance from her mother. A girl who uses her sense of humor to deflect hurtful remarks and pretends not to care when something does not pan out the way she had hoped.

So far the "sentimental genealogist" has really jumped out at me. I also like the graphic designer because I think she's more quirky than most people would realize. I hope to post later on this week or next week with a more developed character.

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