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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Something I need to come to terms with...

There are certain things that become clear and obvious as time passes, and even though I try to rationalize them away, they still exist. This coming Thursday, Sara Sidle is going to die.

I'm going to have an issue with this. First of all, before y'all think I'm crazy, you need to understand that as an only child with two working parents, I grew up with tv characters as family. It's part of what makes me a writer--I see characters as more than just flat objects. But the disadvantage is that, yes, even as an adult, I can sometimes take these things just a bit too seriously.

No one likes Sara. She's an incredibly unpopular character. But I dig her. I like her because she's not skinny, not traditionally sexy, and she's fucking smart. She also fell in love with Gil Grissom and she got him. She showed him who she was, and he fell in love with her. I don't know why other people don't like her as a character. She's flawed in all the right ways.

When I was in 8th grade, Catherine died on Beauty and the Beast. Vincent tried to save her and he was too late. I was 13, and I cried for weeks. I wore black. It was the first real mourning experience I had ever had, and I tried to wrap my mind around the idea that this character--this woman--that I admired and wanted to emulate, was gone. Next Thursday, I am 99.9% positive that Gill Grissom will be too late to save Sara. I'm 18 years older, but I'll still mourn. Not because I wanted to be Sara in the same way that I wanted to be Catherine when I was a child, but because I have a greater understanding now of what loss is. And because the characters of Grissom and Sara have been so well developed and drawn over the years that I will feel for Grissom more than anything else. He shut everyone out, believed he would never find someone he loved....and then Sara took his heart. Her death will ruin him, and this breaks my heart. Her death will, ultimately, lead to the end of the show.

The ability I have to feel empathy and internalize the feelings of fictional characters is both a blessing and a curse. I know it makes me look shallow, that I care so much about a tv show and people who aren't even real. But it's who I am. And I do believe it makes me a stronger fiction writer.

3 comments:

jamais vu said...

Shallow? Not hardly. Empathy for another creatures pain whether the creature is real or not is still empathy. I agree that your uber empathy contributes to an ability to create better fictional characters. Is it a girl Gemini trait to feel so much? I don't know but i find life to be very painful (and joyful) too. It doesn't really matter if the other person is real or fictional, the emotional distress you feel is the same and it's real to you.

When i used to watch the show i always liked Sara expressly BECAUSE she was so hurt and flawed and therefore more relateable.

Anyways. Keep on feeling as hard as you can. The pain is exquisite but so is the pleasure.

Kelly said...

Ahh, you totally understand!!
It might be a Gemini thing--though my mom is as overly empathetic as I am. I used to call it over sensitivity, but it's definitely empathy.

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who likes Sara.

Leah said...

Well, I'm a Scorpio, and I cry about things that happen on tv, in fiction. Even if I've seen the episode before. Even if it's a cartoon. And generally, no one even dies. I apparently have an acute sensitivity to suffering.