Have you ever had one of those conversations with your significant other that started out okay, then became not okay, and then got okay again? I had one recently, and it made me realize how lucky I am that I married someone creative and with some common sense that I apparently don't possess.
My DH and I were talking about Grace and Frankie, a show we've been watching on Netflix, and got into a discussion about character, because we both are writers and that's naturally where discussions flow to in our household no matter what the medium.
What I love about my husband is that he can see a movie or read a book, and at least one of the characters, usually one he likes thank goodness, reminds him of me. I don't assume this; he tells me as we're talking about the characters and plot of the story. This is nice, because many of the characters I see in movies or read about in stories bring him to mind in some way, so I feel like we bond over this.
Except when we don't. In the case of Grace and Frankie, which I recommend to anyone who likes great story-telling and dialogue, we disagreed on which character I resembled the most (he brought this up). Naturally, I assumed he thought I was more like Frankie, who is a complete hippie, but he disagreed. He thought I was more like Grace, who kind of starts out as the stuck-up, rich ex-wife of a lawyer who is somewhat judgmental in her view of the world and very materialistic. That completely flummoxed me, and I was a little upset. How could my hubby mistake tree-hugger me for some uptight, inflexible chick?
But then he explained. It turns out that he's had a crush on Jane Fonda, who plays Grace, for years, and the things he liked about her as an actress are things he likes about me, regardless of her character in the show. In other words, when he sees his crush, he sees me.
Well, crap. Who can argue with that?
So for now I'm Grace, until he starts to unravel the complexities of Lily Tomlin, who plays Frankie, and figures out that I'm more like the new age do-gooder than the woman of his celebrity fantasies.
Do you ever deal with this? With feelings about a character because of who they remind you of or something that has nothing to do with the character? How, as writers, can we avoid this? Or should we? Sometimes there's nothing one can do. Characters can remind readers of family members, ex-teachers, zumba instructors, family doctors, etc., and we can't do anything about it except hope for the best. That's what makes story-telling so intriguing--you can write what you write, but readers read what they want or need to read, and that makes the written word fabulous. Happy Reading!