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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
7:30 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
I’ve been wrestling with my hero for months. It’s not that he’s one of those unruly heroes who doesn’t do as I ask. It’s that I couldn’t SEE how he should act. Honestly, he was just coming off as the regular arrogant, high-handed alpha. And I wasn’t feeling him. At all.
Then, last month, right before Christmas, as if by way of holiday present from above, he suddenly came to me clear as day. I started writing snap shots of him, seeing things he was saying. The calculating yet still charming look in his eye. All charisma and intelligent manipulation delivered with a smooth smile.
He fits my heroine. She’s been through a lot, has lost the fun and thirst for adventure in her life. With good reason. And my hero, well, let’s just say he grabs each experience by the throat, he relishes a good challenge, and he accomplishes it all with a devilish smile and wry wit. He’s the perfect match for her.
I went Voila! I won’t lie, I danced about a bit. I smiled like a fool in the grocery store check out.
Then I realized that he reminded me a lot of my father.
Yeah, creeped me out too.
My self image took a tale spin. What did this mean about my relationship with my father? Did I have some dreaded “Latent Daddy Issues?” Should I call a shrink, SOS? Was there a need for me to contact Dr. Phil?
I paused in all the panic and took a look at myself. I’m a happily married mom with two seemingly normal children and plenty of healthy relationships and loving friends. I have close relationships with my family, have developed close relationship with my hubby’s family. I seemed to be just fine. I’m a pretty happy person, relatively optimistic and resilient, and on most days, I consider myself incredibly lucky.
In short, I didn’t think I was in need of immediate psychological care.
So, what’s with dear old Dad showing up in my hero’s slot and squicking me out?
I thought about it some in the midst of the holiday chaos and I realize my dad was a bit of a hero. A Vietnam veteran, he had a toughness about him that said he saw some stuff that wasn’t nice. But he was still one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. He faced the world head on, didn’t shirk. The man always had a plan, was an entrepreneur through and through. He was loyal to those he loved and would have destroyed anyone who thought they could hurt me.
He had his flaws. I won’t innumerate them here, on the internet, as he’s gone and I preferred to harass him while he was still here. No, he wasn’t perfect. But those things above? They seem pretty heroic to me now. Why shouldn’t my hero be like that?
Honestly, I realize my hero isn’t exactly like my Dad. He just has some of his characteristics. But I’ve got to give my father the credit. If I hadn’t known him, I probably wouldn’t have thought to put those characteristics together in quite that way.
Do you think it’s okay to base characters after people you know? Have you done it before? If not or if so, why? Do you think this is some sign of crazy psychological issues (as if you needed further questioning that I’m a little nuts)? You know…. Wait. Don’t answer that one. I’m not sure I want to know.
Labels: Writing for Rum