I think you’ll all agree that we all have our foibles, things that we do that make us the individuals we are. Take me, for example. It’s a little known fact that I have to rock myself to sleep at night. An activity my mother had always hoped I’d grow out of – a hope my other half is still clinging to to this day. Of course, I’m pleased to say that my particular foible is confined to the privacy of my own bedroom and compared to many of the goings on in many another sleeping quarter, it is actually pretty boring. But it’s the little quirks like these that make us all the more interesting. And for a fiction writer like myself who loves to play with character, such peculiarities can actually be quite fascinating.
Even more so, when people are more than happy to broadcast their idiosyncrasies – people like my next door neighbour.
Now she’s a lovely lady; a woman who happily goes about her business, chatting to anyone and everyone she meets, her little dog constantly in tow. Completely unassuming in every way… So imagine my surprise when after a couple of glasses of wine she began telling me about her day down at the beach – the beach directly overlooked by a well used viewing point, I have to say. Of course, this is a viewing point that I can only assume she forgot was there; I mean, why else would she have proceeded to strip naked, frolick on the surrounding rocks, then dive into the surrounding ocean, all the while telling herself she was a mermaid?
Not that she really compared herself to a humanoid fish, I should admit – I just added that bit for effect.
But then again, that’s my point. As writers it’s important to make all our characters interesting. And by telling you my otherwise completely sane neighbour spent her afternoon not just nude, but imitating a naked mermaid, she became far more interesting to read about.