Thursday, August 25, 2016

Emotional Attachments

Talia walked into my bedroom with tears running down her face.

"Is it normal to be so emotionally attached to a fictional character that you care about what happens to them?"

After having just finished an episode of Sherlock, she'd woken me up. I don't know why she felt the need to risk my wrath by waking me up. Maybe she was worried about herself. Maybe she just felt like coming to see me. Maybe she needed comfort; most people don't like crying alone. Or maybe, based on her question, she wanted validation that she was normal.

But I can't say that she is.

I can say that she inherited this particular abnormality from me. Her reaction to Sherlock is the same one I get when I read a particularly well-written and engrossing novel. The books that I'll pick up a second time, the ones that I bawl my eyes out over and want to know what happens to the characters. Talia's reaction is what I hope to cause in someone else each time I finish a story and what I think every writer should strive for each time they put words on the paper.

That's a huge goal to reach for, and one I'll be having trouble finding time to work on these next few months.


S.B. House said...

If it's not normal than it must just be the people I associate with... because I'd have to say that most everyone I know has fictional characters they're attached to; though perhaps not to the point of tears. Research shows that reading fiction teaches empathy, allows us to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, helps us to better understand others and see the world from a different perspective. I don't think this could be the result of studies if emotional attachment to fictional characters wasn't the norm.

Christina said...

I do think it has to do with people we hang out with. I know many people who look at me like I'm nuts if I recount this story. They don't get it, but they also tend to be the folks who don't read much. So I guess, as usual, "normal" is a relative idea. And yes, you're right about the research. I probably should have clarified that Talia (and I) would stand out compared to some of our crowd. Glad to know you're a part of our empathetic group!