If you happen to watch TV at home during the holiday season, you will notice that along with festive tunes, shades of red and green, bells, parties, food, mall sales and lights, your thoughts will turn to another seasonal item on display in our culture: the romance fantasy. Continue reading Love, Romance and Escape
I was watching some very young kids playing on a pier next to the Hudson on the Jersey side a couple of evenings ago. Summer evenings are great for watching people in a place usually as cold as it is here all year round. The air was balmy and the mood pleasantly mellow.
One tiny person toddled over and stopped right in front of me and just stared for several minutes. At that age, the world is full of amazing wonders. It looked like s/he would like to say something but didn’t quite have the words for it yet. Another kid, barely older, followed this one to see what was up. This second one had the confident air of command. “Say hi,” ordered the second to the first. “Ba ba” was the response and they both dawdled along to more important work.
Continue reading Trapped characters at dusk
I was thinking of blustering Bounderby today, the industrialist character from Dickens’ Hard Times, always lecturing, always talking loudly, always right. I was also thinking of two other people, George Eliot’s Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch, the innocent idealist and her fraught relationship with Casaubon, the collator of facts, the inhabitant of dark libraries, the person obsessed with not just doing things but doing things right. Rather quieter than Bounderby, Casaubon is not just obsessed with facts but is always driven by a desire to control them– to collate, to classify, to categorize. His obsession with control translates in real life to squishing Dorothea’s world, the idealist who has not armed or protected herself against the facts and aggressive logic of Casaubon’s ordered universe.
Fictional characters are just that–fictional. Yet, if you’ve been around them, that is to say, read and thought about fictional people for a while, whether to create some or to analyze them, you suddenly get an insight into real people in a very personal way. Continue reading Aggressive characters real and fictional
I’ve been overcome by a sense of wonder lately at how different people can be, well, different. A newer shade of awe regarding the diversity of human character has deepened this feeling more recently because of the changes in our social topography thanks to social media.
How many different ways have now emerged to get to know people from different angles! How many more ways to gain access to their deepest selves, to the inner workings of their minds and to their momentary thoughts and feelings and to the general trends of their character!
A few days ago, for example, I wrote a post in which I wondered why people might feel the need to put up pictures on their walls and what it might say about them. At some point a few days later, it was very late at night and I was just browsing my blog when an orange notification of a comment popped up. Someone had commented!
In the comment the reader said something that never would have occurred to me. Whenever he sees a picture, he wants to put himself in it. Or rather, he only hangs pictures that he can imagine himself in. He meant that he only puts up things that resonates with him (not that he is a self-obsessed narcissist, of course!)
It was just a casual comment but it got me thinking. Continue reading Social media and characters