Thursday, August 21, 2008
Emotions and the Characters Who Have Them
I just had myself a good cry the other day. Now, I am not looking for sympathy. In fact, I am getting to the point I can laugh about what happened. I also needed to jump in and blog since I haven’t done so for several weeks (sorry!) and thought I’d kill two birds with one rock.
My story goes back a few years ago (prologues—love ‘em or hate ‘em). I was on my way to work, sitting still in traffic when I heard sirens. Along with the other good citizens, I pulled over to the side. Not enough. The car fleeing pursuit drove through the lanes of traffic, scraping between every car along the way. Turns out said car held a crack dealer who was driving one of his customer’s cars!! I kid you not.
Since then, I have been a magnet. I was returning a rental car in Nashville, sitting still when the people in front of me backed up and totaled my rental car. We got stuck in the ice in Virginia, my father came to help, slid and took out my front light. We had a ripping flat on vacation outside of Williamsburg on the hottest day of the year. We thought it was the Toyota van, bought a Kia. Had about a year’s reprieve. Then, and this is the only one where I actually DID anything, I backed up into my brother-in-law’s SUV when he came to visit and parked in my blind spot.
Last week, I was visiting in Virginia, stopped at railroad tracks, and the man in front of me backed up and hit me. Last Saturday, I’d been running errands and the last thing on my list was to go through the car wash. The machines malfunctioned and smashed in my back windshield. I looked out my rearview mirror, told my daughter the machines were behaving strangely and saw it happen.
So, in the spirit of using what we know, I’m going to analyze my emotions and apply said analysis to writing. When the huge machine hit my window, my daughter and I screamed. The eleven-year old child told me to get us out of there. I was already on my way. The adrenaline pumping, I had tunnel vision, and didn’t see anything but the path to the parking space in front of the store. We got out and went in. I was able to tell the cashier clearly what had happened. I felt dizzy. I could see nothing beyond eight feet.
In Psychology, there is a theory that the physiological reactions happen first and our interpretations of them come after. We don’t even know what we’re feeling at the time, even though our interpretations can come quickly.
I didn’t look at the damage until we were safe at home. My daughter calmed down, and we told Daddy together. He thought it wasn’t any big deal. The insurance would cover it. I went upstairs to cry.
He hadn’t reacted properly. I must have done something to deserve all these bad things happening to me. The rational part of my brain told me nobody had been hurt and luck was luck. The emotional side had taken over and wouldn’t listen, until I cried myself out. The next day, I joked about it with friends.
Crime and Punishment is not a book on many high school reading lists, and for good reason. When I read it, I descended into vicarious madness with the main character. I looked out my school bus window and couldn’t see the sun shining in front of my face.
Now, that’s emotion.