I have been watching DVD lectures on Fiction Writing presented by author and Professor James Hynes.
In one lecture, he said that the difference between fictional characters and real people is our ability to access the fictional person’s innermost thoughts, but we can never access the innermost thoughts of a real person, however how well we think we know that person. I thought, yes, I know more about The Little Prince, Jonathon Livingstone Seagull and Georgia Lane, the protagonist in Storm Warning, my novel in progress, than I know about many of the people who inhabit my life.
Perhaps we wouldn’t want anyone to know us as well as we know our favourite fictional characters, and most of us prefer not to have intimate details of our lives advertised on social media.
But surely when the time comes for someone to write your eulogy, you’d hope that person would be able to present a picture of the unique person you are, rather than describe the frame around your life, built of dates times and places.
To quote a friend, when speaking at a loved one’s funeral; he was much more than the frame.
If you were asked to write a eulogy for a friend or relative could you present a word picture of that person that was much more than the frame?
I attended a friend's funeral this week. Our shared interest was writing.We met for lunch once a month until she became ill. But it was the first time I had heard her play the piano; a recording of a duet played with her daughter. It was the first time I had seen a photo of her as a lovely young woman. How little I knew of her.Perhaps we should interview the people in our lives in a bid to know more than what the surface reveals or attempt to write a two-page biography about them omitting the ‘frame’.
Picture from Pinterest The Little Prince...novel by Antoine St Exupery