I recently started watching a new TV cable series and had the “aha!” moment when I realized that I enjoyed the dysfunctional main character for one particular reason. She was me! There I was, in fictional form, right on the television screen! How awkward.
It was a very strange experience, I must admit. And to add to it, not only did I recognize Hanna Horvath’s physical appearance, flaws and insecurities in myself, but so did my finance which made the realization even more awkward. The fact that Hanna is an aspiring writer who is working on her first e-book just sealed my fate as the real life Hanna. The best line in the show goes something like this as Hanna is talking to a random stranger at a NYC party. She is explaining to him that she is writing an e-book and he states. “An e-book? That’s like not a real book, right?” Ha! All of my writer blogger friends can have a good chuckle at this as I did.
In all seriousness, I have discovered finding your literary version of yourself can be a self-defining experience, or re-fining for those of you out in the world that have a solid sense of self and who you are as a person. I was never one of those people. It of course started as a child being self-conscious of everything about me. As a result, I grew up to be an insecure teenager who had trouble making decisions and deciding what I liked or disliked that would define me as an individual. I tended to be an easy-going, wishy-washy type of person. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties and early thirties that I realized these characteristics in myself and now I am more conscious to define and express my views and interests so that I know who I am. This may sound foreign to those of you out there who have always had a strong sense of self. I was never one of those people and always hung in the background, following the leads and interests of others.
So as a result, when I meet this Hanna on TV, I realize that she helps me to redefine myself even further. I see additional characteristics in her that I have as well, but ones that I never had identified with earlier. And in reverse, I see characteristics in her that are most definitely not me, and that in turns defines my self further.
I am not sure how common it is for people to find their real life characters. For one it is difficult to not only find someone that looks like you, but also acts like you as well. Nonetheless, it has been an interesting experience as a writer and I would love to hear from others on this topic as well!