BROKEN CHARACTERS—WHY WE FALL IN LOVE WITH THINGS THAT NEED FIXING

*To celebrate my one year blogging anniversary, I’ll be posting some of my favorite posts from 2013 through the month of December*

Simple. Because we’re broken too.

That’s all life is really. One chaotic mess, all of us scrambling to fit in, to fill our holes, to find someone who gets us. The goal in life isn’t to find happiness, it’s to find ourselves—the pieces of which have been flung all over this world. Glinting there in someone’s smile, steaming in that first bite, scattered along a road you’ve never traveled before.

We find these pieces of ourselves in people, in places, in tastes and smells and the things that abandon sensory explanation. They are in the invisible. They are in the every day. Life is about gathering these pieces and keeping them safe. Life is about connections. Because without them we’re all just floating, waiting to be tethered to something.

And when you read a great book, one with characters as tactile as the face in your bathroom mirror, one whose words are so true they leave a familiar taste on the tip of your tongue, that’s what it feels like. It feels like you’ve been tethered to something and it’s been tethered to you. It feels like you belong.

People write for all kinds of different reasons. To make the world a better place. To provide people with an escape. But, for some reason, I don’t think about those things. Not because it wouldn’t be nice to make the world a better place or to entertain someone long enough to forget about whatever they’ve been going through. But because that’s not what keeps me up at night when I’m lying in bed, desperately trying to answer the why. Even though the answer is usually always the same. Why am I writing thisWhy do I write at all? Because when I do I don’t feel so alone and when people read my books I hope that’s how they feel too.

Understood.

Recognized.

We cling to characters who are broken because they remind us that we are not alone.  And when those characters—who we’ve come to recognize as one of those pieces of us flung out into the world; scattered in the pages of a book written by someone we’ve never met—find what they’ve been looking for, part of us feels found too.

*Originally posted on 4/9/13*

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2 thoughts on “BROKEN CHARACTERS—WHY WE FALL IN LOVE WITH THINGS THAT NEED FIXING

  1. rgdole says:

    well characters need to be where the reader can relate to them… we can’t relate to perfect… and perfect is boring… a book without conflict is a book where nothing happens… but sometimes I think it’s the nurturer in us… the one that wants to take the sad rain drenched puppy home to hug and love and give a good home too… we hope to see the people be able to come about and make themselves better and to find happiness because that gives us hope for our own lives… even though we know it’s fictional it still makes us want to believe that there is that perfect person out there and that there is a good life to be had…

    • You’re so right. Sharing in the character’s struggle brings us affirmation and watching them overcome those struggles, even if we haven’t overcome our own, brings us hope. Pain is the most powerful of universal emotions because when we see someone else in pain, it’s second nature to step into their shoes. We can’t help but empathize and show compassion and by experiencing that through reading, we’re becoming better people both in and for the world.

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