At various times in my life, I’ve been in a position to contemplate who I am without family or friends, who I am without health and the ability to participate in the world, who I am without materials or money.
Various answers have occurred to me at different times.
In times past, perhaps people would have taken pride in their name. (How did that become such an antiquated notion? Sad, I think.) Nowadays, maybe their honor, their honesty, their reputation, their compassion, the list goes on and on and on.
Some interesting characters might say their cunning.
The question of who we are when we have nothing has always fascinated me.
The answer always brings me great comfort.
I worry that we don’t teach values to our children so much. Honesty means so little to them. Of honor, they have no conception. True helpfulness is a rare gem. They are good kids, don’t get me wrong. It’s just I wonder what they have to fall back on, if they were stripped of family, friendship, possessions, and security.
I imagine we have only our principles left. I never really examined or thought of my principles before life forced me to, but I often think they should be taught more than they are. What great comfort they would give our children when they meet the trials of their life!
(Eegads! Did you just read that sentence? I have got to get out of this 19th century English lit phase before it destroys my voice!)
MySpace fascinates me at times. So much on a profile seems plastic and meaningless. I used to hate MySpace for that reason, but lately I’ve begun scouring the profiles for that one little detail that seems real and true, that enlightens the person behind the page.
We often don’t know ourselves, in fact, many self-help books advise you to ask your friends who you are, like when you’re struggling to find a career or a passion. But as writers, we not only need to know ourselves, but we need to know others. And we need to know our characters, who they are, who they think they are, and where the differences lie.
Just random, sleepy thoughts today. As Erica would say: thoughts, anyone?