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[livejournal.com profile] urb_banal prompted: any character from any fandom, or not: A line drawn away from yourself towards...

I'm not quite taking this in the direction she intended, but the prompt has lingered in my head all day, and this is where I wound up. I can't insert myself into a scene with a fictional character -- I mean, I have done, when I was much younger, and that's called a Mary Sue and it's all right, I feel like it's an important stage of development for any writer. But honestly, I wouldn't want to stick myself in a room with a fictional character -- or a famous person -- or any of those sorts of scenarios, because that's just not who I am. I wouldn't know what to say. I'd feel very small and quiet and dull. And I don't tend to strongly identify with the fictional characters I love, or the ones I write. That's part of the joy of writing, for me -- trying on someone else's personality for a change, seeing through someone else's eyes, not dragging them into my head.

I just sat at my laptop for a good long while and tried to think of any character from any medium, just one, that I feel a genuine personal connection to. Just one.

A line drawn away from myself towards --

It's all trivial -- your grouse, my hermit, Bernard's Byron. Comparing what we're looking for misses the point. It's wanting to know that makes us matter. Otherwise we're going out the way we came in. That's why you can't believe in the afterlife, Valentine. Believe in the after, by all means, but not the life. Believe in God, the soul, the spirit, the infinite, believe in angels if you like, but not in the great celestial get-together for an exchange of views. If the answers are in the back of the book I can wait, but what a drag. Better to struggle on knowing that failure is final.

Hannah Jarvis, from Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia, is quite possibly the only fictional character I have ever truly seen myself in, and oh god, I can't even begin to describe it. Fair warning: given the current prompts, I'm going to be talking about Arcadia a LOT this month. So I'm not going to go into detail about the play itself right now, but oh, HANNAH.

She's a no-nonsense, sharp-tongued, fierce feminist who criticizes the Romantic era as celebrating "the decline from thinking to feeling"; she comes to this manor house in search of the perfect symbol to tie her book together and instead finds herself deeply emotionally invested in the lives of a young mathematics genius and her tutor who lived and died centuries earlier. I'm not an historian nor an academic, but I'm frequently accused of either being too logical and unfeeling (in terms of romantic relationships) or getting too worked up over trivialities (fandom, social issues), and I identify HARD with Hannah's emotional transference from her own personal life to the cares and concerns of people long dead. (On a lighter note, Hannah ships Thomasina/Septimus pretty hardcore, as well she should.) She is very much a flawed heroine -- if she can be considered the heroine of the play at all; most would probably argue that Thomasina is, but my vote's for Hannah -- and she's a bit odd and lonely and abrasive. And I see way too much of myself in her. Way, way too much.

BERNARD: You should let yourself go a bit. You might have written a better book. Or at any rate the right book.
HANNAH: Sex and literature. Literature and sex. Your conversation, left to itself, doesn't have many places to go. Like two marbles rolling around a pudding basin. One of them is always sex.
BERNARD: Ah well, yes. Men all over.
HANNAH: No doubt. Einstein -- relativity and sex. Chippendale -- sex and furniture. Galileo -- "Did the earth move?" What the hell is it with you people? Chaps sometimes wanted to marry me, and I don't know a worse bargain. Available sex against not being allowed to fart in bed. What do you mean the right book?
BERNARD: It takes a romantic to make a heroine of Caroline Lamb. You were cut out for Byron.

(There are plenty of days in December I don't have filled -- prompt me! Please?)


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