Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I Am NOT Felicity
The problem with publishing a novel in first-person narrative is that everyone thinks your lead character is YOU. Felicity is the lead character of my book, Bliss, Bliss, Bliss, and she is a singer-songwriter who lives in Ocean City. True, I have studied singing, and I have written several songs, but the seed of my story about Felicity was actually planted after a conversation I had with my best college buddy, Lauren.
Lauren is also a singer-songwriter, and she often sings in the types of piano bars that Felicity performs in. One day, Lauren was lamenting about how she has no problem earning a living playing music during the summer in her resort town near the ocean, but by the end of the summer, all the tourists go home, and she finds it hard to earn her living during the winter doing only music. She says her town gets really empty, and it is depressing. That gave me an idea: What if you put an already-depressed woman inside of a deserted town like that to struggle financially and face yet another cold and lonely winter? Does this mean my friend, Lauren, is Felicity? No. It means that I took her situation, created a character, mixed some of my own personality traits in, then pretty much let her loose inside a story where she'd have to face her own experiences, relationships and dilemmas that I myself have never had to deal with, and I let HER make the decisions.
Some of the decisions Felicity has made, I do not like. During the writing of my novel, I remember telling my friend, Tara, over lunch one day that I REALLY didn't like what my character, Felicity, did that day before. She was wrong to do it, and she wasn't supposed to do it, but hey, Felicity is not me, and if she decides to do something, just because I myself would not do it, doesn't mean that I should step in and be the moral majority and interfere. I am NOT Felicity, and I have to let her make her own mistakes on her own journey of self-discovery. I have never had the relationships she has with the three main male characters in my book. I have never carried a torch for someone who already has a girlfriend, I've never dated a yuppie, and I've never hung out with a former rock star! But it's fun to watch Felicity do these things, and I don't even have to pick up the pieces when her life begins to fall apart.
As I've said before, I did give Felicity some of my character traits. Mostly, it comes out in the dialog. A lot of her viewpoints are my viewpoints, I will admit to that. She can be a little neurotic sometimes, and so can I. One thing I am NOT neurotic about that Felicity is concerns her issues with food: "Eating could be such a nuisance sometimes," she says. She constantly worries about being too thin and the fact that she never knows what to eat and never feels like stopping to eat it. I get a real kick out of those sections. The first thing I usually think about when I wake up in the morning is what delicious food I can have that day! Sometimes, it goes something like this: I'm going shopping today, I can't wait to buy my block of cheddar cheese or Today I get to eat that big plate of vegetable lasagna at that restaurant near work! In this way, Felicity is my opposite!
The father issues Felicity has are actually based in truth. I too lost my father as a teenager. Felicity's two female friends, Edie and Coco, also have father issues. Coco lost her father as a child, and Edie's father abandoned the family when she was a child too. Edie and Coco are actually based on two women I have been friends with. I don't know if anyone reading the book could guess who they are. It's not something I choose to reveal, but hey, if you happen to read the book and can guess it, I will admit whether your guess is correct or not.
Bottom line is that Felicity is a work of fiction. She is not me, but she has some of my traits and knows what it is like to lose her father. She works in the same capacity as my friend, Lauren. She has two best friends who are extremely similar to two friends I have had. But I am NOT Felicity, and yes, I still do love her!