In my effort to write more in 2017, I bought a book of writing prompts and also a book called 52 lists. The list book gives you topics to create a weekly list that will help you know yourself better and give yourself something to write about. We are in the fourth week of the year and I am already behind in my list making.
I suspect that you are starting to form the opinion of me that I might be a bit of a slacker. But I’m really not! I think I’m better described as someone who has a very poor sense of how much I can feasibly accomplish on a given day. Well, on a given day that also includes sleep, texting with my sister, reading news online, watching an hour of TV with my husband, and playing with my kids. Sure, if I were to eliminate some of these time-wasting luxuries, I would have more time to do something productive, but I’m already spending so much time being productive, that I end up convincing myself that I deserve some unproductive time. I need it. It would be wrong and potentially damaging to my relationship to not watch TV with my husband at the end of the day, right?
And yet, somehow I doubt this is how the movers and shakers of the world go about their lives.
Be that as it may, I’m not swearing off TV or sleep in order to reach my goals just yet, but I am trying to be more efficient with my time. So for the sake of efficiency, I’m combining last week’s list with today’s 500 words.
The topic? Fictional characters I admire. I was excited to think about this one, and then as I started thinking, I realized I have more TV/movie characters than I do characters from literature. And I’m a book person! I swear! I attribute this more to my poor memory than to a sign of my literacy. Like, I remember loving Jane Eyre, but did I admire Jane, the character? Or did I just love the story? I don’t really remember – and I’ve read it multiple times! This doesn’t really explain why I have clearer memories of TV shows Ive loved. Oh well. Without beating myself up too much – here is my list. I’ll start with some literary ones to make myself feel better.
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
Smart. Confident. Bad ass. Hermione was not only the smartest kid in school, but she was confident, brave, and a loyal friend too. If I could be any character, it would be her.
Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
I haven’t read it in years, but this is one literary character that did stick with me. I admired both her curiosity and her willingness to stand up for what’s right. I also loved her relationship with her father.
Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind
I loved this book as a kid. I must have read it 3 or 4 times before I was 14. Fortunately, even then I recognized Scarlett as a flawed character (along with her beloved South), but I did admire how she didn’t care what others thought and just did whatever she had to do in order to survive. Was she selfish? Hell, yes. But sometimes, that’s not such a bad thing.
Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife
Man, do I miss this show. One of the smartest female characters on TV at the time, Alicia used her intelligence for good (usually) as she defended her clients. I loved watching her wrestle with ethics as she tried to do the right thing. She was a do-gooder for sure, but unlike the portrayal of so many other female heroes, she was also ambitious. She wanted to help others – and herself. It’s rare to see that in a female heroine.
Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
Clearly I like smart females! Rory Gilmore loved good books and music, studied hard, wrote for the newspaper, engaged in articulate debates with others, and referenced obscure books, music and movies at every turn. Both cool and geeky at the same time, she was everything I wish I’d been in high school and college.
Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So, Buffy might not be an obvious fit on this list of smart women, but when it came to fighting vampires, she knew more than anyone else! I loved her strength and her loyalty to her friends, and she could be really funny too. She could also be moody which, while not something I aspire to be, made her so convincing as a teenage gir
Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
I almost didn’t include V. Mars because, with her quippy crime-fighting ways, she is somewhat Buffy-like. But alas, the list feels incomplete without my favorite witty highschool detective. She could find the truth in any situation, and she always had a team of loyal smart people around to help her with anything she missed.
My book of lists suggests you think about what these characters have in common and set a goal to further that characteristic in yourself. I think strength and intelligence is a pretty common trait. This doesn’t surprise me. I value intelligence and seek it in my real life relationships too – even though at times I can find it intimidating.
Growing up I was always thought of as a smart kid – I made good grades and got into a pretty good college. But somewhere along the way I lost that sense of myself. So, while setting a goal to take an online class or read up on a specific subject may be helpful, I think it may take more than that to help me build confidence in that area. I’m sure there some level of psychosis going on there that I’ll need to examine, but I’ll save that for another 500 words.