Five by Five

We all have problems, right? Some of us are riddled with neuroses, others with egotism. Some of us feel a need to be needed; others feel suffocated by the very same thing. Some hunger love and intimacy while others are ensconced in so many layers of protection, that no-one can ever really touch us again. Most of us recognise our problems. We may even know the reasons behind our various maladies, but how many of us have contemplated them to any meaningful degree?

No, I haven’t been reading bad philosophy – just bear with me. Basically, having pretty much finished my book (due for release in December), I realised that I had had enough of my main character. I cared for her (in the pretentious way writers care about their characters) but I didn’t want to think about her problems anymore (of which she has many). When thinking about this, I realised that it’s a good way to build characters for my next novel; writing down, say, five things that shaped that particular character. They could be bad things or good things; they could be things that equipped the character with strength and ability, or that crippled them with fears and insecurities. They can be random or subtle or violent and tragic or epic or sweet or all of those things. I just have to know what they are and use them to build my characters’ personalities.

This, of course, got me thinking about the five things that shaped me the most. Some are random, some are nice, some are awful, some are ordinary – all are a part of the strange, sprawling mess that life can sometimes feel like. Maybe I’ll list my five in the next entry, but for now, I’d like to hear about you. Can you think of five things that have shaped you as a person? Are they good or bad? How have they affected you? Would you change any of them? Does thinking about them help or hurt, or a bit of both? Would writing about them and sharing them be terrifying or cathartic? If the latter, would you be willing to do so here, even if it’s under ‘Anonymous’? What about if you can’t or couldn’t think of five things? Would you count yourself lucky or just inexperienced? In short, what five things have made you, you?