Saturday, October 2, 2010

Romance between the pages

When I read a really great book, I often find myself falling in love with the characters. I just can't help myself.  I want to spend time with them and find out more about them. It’s often a short affair, or sometimes (with a particularly long book) a longer one. And if they're characters that continue to haunt me, the affair can last a lifetime.

The first fictional hero I fell for might have been Lyle the Crocodile. He seemed like such fun. He organized the whole block to play stick ball. Or Winnie the Pooh. I wanted him to sing songs to me and play with me on rainy days. And I think I wanted to be Christopher Robin. He was clearly the guy in charge. Anyway—it doesn’t matter. At an early age I was introduced to the magic of books. I spent a lot of my spare time reading. And, when I got older, I wanted to create stories too.

I have certain comfort reads that I pick up once a year. One is Pride and Prejudice. I enjoy spending time with one of fiction’s total hotties -- Mr. Darcy. Okay, so he’s a bit cold and stand-offish, but he loves Elizabeth so passionately! And he has that amazing house. I think I could definitely handle the pride part. The only sticking point for me was his lack of a sense of humor.

Most of Agatha Christie’s heroes weren’t that attractive to me, but I do have a weakness for Anthony Cade in “The Secret of Chimneys.” He’s so dashing, witty, and up for anything. And when he turns out to be a member of the royal family of some Eastern European country, I totally bought it. He asks the woman he loves to come rule the country with him. He says their lives may be short, but their days will be full of excitement. How romantic...

I never did go for Rhett Butler (too mean) or Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (too brooding), or Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester (that whole first wife thing in the attic was way too creepy). I guess the brooding ones just aren’t my type. I like a man of action with a soft heart. And did I mention a sense of humor?

I fall in love a little with the characters I create, too. I become obsessed with them, and pour over scenes with them for hours at a time shaping their character and discovering what makes them tick.

Would I leave my spouse for any character I mentioned? I do—all the time. Just ask my husband how much time I spend reading. And writing. And he’ll roll his eyes. But in the end he knows I’ll come back to reality and back to him. Among his other wonderful qualities, he is very funny. He's made me laugh since the first moment I met him (almost 20 years ago--wow!) and tolerates my love affair with books. So he's definitely a keeper.

And I'll take this opportunity to raise my glass to all the spouses and partners of writers everywhere. You are our inspiration. And don't worry--as soon as this draft is finished, you'll have our full attention once more.

14th wedding anniversary


Colleen Collins said...

Hi Meredith, enjoyed your post. Liked the photo of you and hubby at the end, too.

I'm happily married, as you know, but have to admit that the fictional Elvis Cole is pretty cool.

Best, Colleen (one of the "Writing PIs")

Gabi said...

Like you, the brooding types just made me want to smack somebody. But if you're going to be Christopher Robin, I'm going to be Tigger and we can invite Winnie and all the guys over for a picnic where I'll just cuddle the Pooh to death. What an evolved man to know how important the cuddle is?

Meredith Cole said...

Elvis Cole is pretty cool, Colleen! And not just because he has the same last name as I do... Hmm. Possible name for second kid?

Meredith Cole said...

Gabi--you always make me giggle. Looking forward to your post tomorrow...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I agree, Gabi, cuddling is very important, and not just for bears of very little brain.

Great post, Meredith! I too leave the world behind and run off with characters every time I read.

Ellis Vidler said...

I fall for my own characters too, but some well-known ones that stay with me are Tarzan, Jamie Fraser from Outlander, and I mustn't forget Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. But I always come home again. :-)

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for stopping by Rebecca!

Glad to know you fall in love with characters, too, Ellis, and that they stay with you (even after you come home!).

Sophie Littlefield said...

awwww, cute picture!!

Kelli Stanley said...

Wonderful post, Meredith!! :) And great pic of you and your hubby! :)

Of course, what I want to know now is ... who is your favorite Darcy? Olivier, Firth, Macfadyen? Someone else entirely?

I've always been partial to Mr. Knightley in Emma as far as Austen heroes go ... ;)