I’m taking a class about the creative work that goes on before you start writing your story. It’s intended to help you quickly immerse yourself in the world of your story, so you can, hopefully, settle right in to the writing each time you sit down to do it.
It’s fun and the homework is fabulous. Stuff like watching TV, reading books, surfing the web, or looking through magazines for pictures for your collage. No, really, I need to watch this episode of Fringe. It’s homework. That’s so full of awesome.
Anyway, last week in class someone mentioned a book called The Secret Language of Birthdays as a source of ideas for character traits. The authors compiled data from interviews with people who have the same birthday to see what traits they have in common. The result is a book you can read to see what your birthday says about you. Or your spouse. Or your child. Or your nemesis. Or the protagonist in your novel. Or her nemesis. You get the picture. That’s such a fascinating concept to me that I immediately bought the book. I hadn’t considered how huge it would be, the physical book I mean, but I’m pretty sure it would break my foot if I dropped it on it.
So as I’m waiting for BamBam to finish his second swim OT session…he loves them, BTW. Here’s a picture of him in the pool from last week:
Did I mention he called his therapist by name in the locker room after? We danced with glee!
Anyway, as I wait for him to finish up, I’m thinking about some of the things the book had to say about people born on my birthday, January third. Here are the quotes* I’m contemplating:
“Many like to work with their hands and are self-sufficient types who would prefer not to ask for help. They may also have trouble accepting help, however, because they feel it is easier to do things themselves without a lot of verbal to-do.”
I know you’re supposed to take the quotes out if you indent, but I couldn’t make the indent work quite right, so I left them in for clarity.
“…sensible enough to schedule regular dental and medical checkups for themselves. Yet too often they are ready to sacrifice their health and well-being for their work. Consequently it is important that from an early age, habits promoting a nourishing diet, personal hygiene and regular sleep become ingrained. Strenuous physical exercise, not excluding competitive team or one-on-one sports, is highly recommended for those born on this day.”
My work at this point is my boys. One of the reasons I chose to stay home with them was that I didn’t think I was capable of splitting my duty, my sense of fealty, between my family and an outside job. It’s just not in me. Especially not right now, with the demands of driving all over the planet to therapy appointments. I think I can be a writer, though. That way my only responsibility to a boss is to me, and I’m pretty willing to let my employees take off to tend to their families. That may be a problem once I answer to a publisher, but I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it.
“…must beware of surrendering too much of their individuality to group endeavors. They should seek a profession in which they are able to put their personal stamp on whatever they do and balance individual freedom with duty in an appropriate ratio.”
“Once a January 3 person commits to a person or project they are in one hundred percent. Their involvement with practically any activity they take on is total, and rarely or ever will they seek to back out or quit.”
“Those born on this day will not shirk their responsibilities because they know that to do so is just to dump their work on someone else, and this will not do.”
It’s almost as if the authors interviewed my friends and family. Not as if they interviewed me, because I most likely would not reveal those things about myself in an interview. Maybe they read my blog, though, ‘cause I’m pretty sure I’ve said (or at least implied) similar things to you all.
*Quotes are from pages 656, 657, and 812 of The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers. See? I told you it was a hefty volume.