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Getting emotional on the new year

Do you have anything that you celebrate simply because it’s a celebration?

The New Year is like that for me. I’ve always thought of my birthday as the new year, but I still love the excitement of the calendar new year, and I’m more than happy to celebrate it with everyone and anyone who is interested.

Cinco de Mayo is the same way. It’s a great party, but I have no personal connection to Mexico defeating France. I just celebrate it because it’s a party.

I’m guessing that St. Pat’s day is probably like that for a lot of people not named Pat.

My point is that, sometimes, it doesn’t matter why we’re celebrating. We’re just happy to be celebrating.

I don’t think that’s just true of celebrating, either. I think the same sort of thing happens with emotions. Imagine a character who feels sad about being sad, for example, or one who is made happier by being happy.

Those characters have an interesting emotional momentum. Once something triggers a sad feeling, the character stays sad (or maybe gets sadder) until something breaks the cycle.

Perhaps the thing that breaks the cycle is internal, or perhaps the character is not self-aware enough to do that. Either way, it could make for a compelling character.

Better yet, what about a character who has different emotions about their emotions? How about someone who gets frustrated or angry about being sad? Their emotional journey could be sad -> angry/sad -> angry… and then what? Sad again? Or does the anger burn it all away?

What about someone who is afraid of being happy, who feels like too much happiness could hurt them, or someone who is happiest when they’re angry?

I’m currently working with a character who has emotions about emotions, and I’m finding the path he’s travelling both interesting and difficult to get right.

How about you? Have you written about emotions that build (and perhaps feed on) other emotions? How did you deal with them?

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Posted December 31, 2018 in Life & Writing