In my secret life, I'm young, pretty, slender, agile, super-smart, insightful, and all those things that characterize our ideals. In my secret life, I can wear Catwoman's catsuit without displaying any unsightly bulges or feeling like an idiot.
How did Julie Newmar do it?
I suppose I'm not so dissimilar from other authors in that I put bits of myself into the characters in my stories. They don't all imbue those lovely and inspirational qualities, because then we'd have flawless "Mary Sue" characters who bore people to tears with their perfection. So, one character will inherit my dark, sardonic humor, another my fondness for cats, and still another my distaste for Brussels sprouts and lima beans.
That insertion of my own personality and preferences into characters means that my immediate family members don't read my books. As my mother says, "I don't want to know you that intimately." I can understand and respect that, even if I wish family members would realize that there's less of me in those characters than they might think.
Taken altogether, the sum of those characters does not equal one of me. After all, I've long since waved good-bye to my youth. I'm not married to a towering hunk o' man with more money than God. I certainly don't have exciting adventures in exotic locales.
Let's be blunt: I dislike traveling. Most of the travel in my life occurred for business purposes. Overall, traveling for business is not fun, although I do have some good memories of specific occurrences that happened while on those business trips. However, I'm planning on two more trips in the next couple of years: one trip to Minnesota for a family reunion and another trip to Alaska to visit my younger son.
In my secret life, travel becomes as wondrous and magical as Rick Steves, Joseph Rosendo, and Rudy Maxa encourage us to think.
Authors bleed pieces of themselves into their characters, especially their protagonists, because: 1) we tend to write some of what we know and we know ourselves; and, 2) we want to like our characters and we tend to like various aspects of ourselves. That's part of how we connect with our characters and give them emotion, motivation, and personality. This cathartic expression often results in feelings of sadness and regret when we finish a manuscript, because we're saying good-bye to pieces of ourselves. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't have more where that came from. You bet we do and we'll use it again.
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