How fiction makes me better

A friend gave me a deck of 100 writing prompts for my birthday, and I am really excited about using the cards because I often have writer’s block and have no idea what to write about. The past two weeks have been rather heavy, so I’m going to write about something on the light side.

Which character from a book or movie would you most like to meet, and why?

This question is actually pretty easy. Eleanor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite fictional characters, and I would absolutely love to meet her.

Eleanor is my favorite character because she is so unlike me in really good ways. I am more like Eleanor’s sister Marianne. Whereas Eleanor is measured and non-anxious, Marianne is reactive, emotive, and volatile (see also: me). These tendencies are slightly exacerbated since I am bipolar. Yay me!

I read Sense and Sensibility for the first time a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the beautiful writing and character development. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors (even though her books are tough reads). Her characters are always so rich and relatable.

I want to be more like Eleanor, and she is one of my fictional role models, if there is such a thing.

I recently “bought” Sense and Sensibility on Audible. It is read by Rosamunde Pike. It is absolutely wonderful on audio.

True story:

I was listening to the book on my way to see one of my company’s suppliers. Jane Austen’s vocabulary is vast and her sentence structures are complex. I was so engrossed in the book, I did not realize how fast I was going on the highway.

Sure enough, I got pulled over for going 21 miles over the speed limit. Oops.

The cop asked me why I was going so fast, and I just shrugged (it was my first time being pulled over and I was speechless). I hadn’t put together yet that I was distracted by the audiobook. The cop said, “Just blowing and going?” I nodded because I didn’t know what else to do.

I got to do a defensive driving course online, which wasn’t terrible. It was just a hassle. It’s a funny story, and I’m glad I wasn’t going any faster. *Sheepish grin*

I feel like I handled being pulled over relatively well. I deserved the ticket for sure. I should have been on cruise control, but I wasn’t thinking about driving. Scary, I know.

Anywho.

Sense and Sensibility is in my top ten favorite books. I think fiction has the potential to teach us appropriate ways to behave and interact with other humans, and I think this book achieves that in the best way. Both times I’ve read it, I feel like I want to be a better person.

I want to be like Eleanor. Calm in the face of adversity. Pragmatic even when things do not go as planned. Disappointment does not derail or debilitate Eleanor. She is resilient and steadfast, and I could afford to strive for some of those characteristics.

2 Replies to “How fiction makes me better”

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