The thing about being completely neurotic is that you obsess over everything, including the things that don't bother most people. (That's why I love Seinfeld. It's not really "a show about nothing". It's a show about their obsessions.) That can cause you to hold grudges that last for a long time.
For example, I am still angry at the Walgreens cashier that I bought M&Ms from back in high school. She made a crack about how I shouldn't eat too much candy because it was fattening. I'd bought candy from her before, and I guess she thought she was being "helpful". This was back when I was overweight and self-conscious about my appearance. I knew the candy was fattening. Overweight people know that they shouldn't eat junk food, and they know that they're overweight. But sometimes they just can't help themselves, and it's humiliating when other people make them feel bad about it. I still remember how embarrassed, hurt, and angry I felt, and to this
day I wish I had stood up to her...or at least called the manager over
to file a complaint against her. So even though it's been more than a decade since that happened, I still cannot bring myself to forgive her.
I do try to forgive people, even though it's hard. But in fiction writing, however, I can be as vengeful and unforgiving as I want to be. That makes me sound cruel, but think about it. A lot of fiction writers write down the things they would never say in real life, or they let their characters do what the writers could/would never do. It's safer that way, and it can provide a sense of release as well. Rather than seek revenge in real life against the people that hurt you, you can do it through writing, as long as you heavily disguise those people, of course, as Anne Lamott advised in her book Bird by Bird. (Otherwise, they might seek revenge against you, by filing a lawsuit.)
For example, the other night, I noticed that the neighbor in the apartment one floor up and facing mine raised his blinds at around midnight. I didn't think anything of it until I went to bed at around twelve-thirty. Even though my blinds were closed, the light from my neighbor's apartment shone into mine. He must have used flood lights or 100-megawatt bulbs, because the light completely lit up my room. In my half-asleep state, I at first thought that a UFO had landed outside my window, and I was going to yell out my window, "Take my neighbors, not me! Feel free to dissect and study them, as long as you don't bring them back."
But then I looked out my window and realized that it was the light in my neighbor's apartment that made it seem like it was still broad daylight rather than the middle of the night. I tried to go back to sleep, but the light made it impossible. How long did the jerk leave his light on? All night. What time did I finally manage to fall asleep? Four A.M. What time did I have to get up to go to work? Seven A.M. On a scale of one to ten, how angry (and exhausted) was I? 999,765,037...and counting.
In fiction, I can get back at him by writing a horror story titled "Night of the Living Workaholic", where I turn into a zombie (which, actually, is what happens when I don't get enough sleep) and come into his apartment, where Zombie Me then proceeds to a) eat his brain or b) scare him into being polite and considerate, to the point that not only will he keep his blinds closed from now on, he'll be too afraid to leave his home and will keep peeking through his blinds for fear that Zombie Me will strike again (and I will, BWAHAHAHAHA!).
In real life, I bought a sleeping mask to cover my eyes. If he is inconsiderate enough to leave his blinds up and his lights on all night again, I will ask my landlord to say something to him, though I doubt it will make much difference.
More than once people have pushed me aside in their hurry to get on the train during my daily commute. In real life, all I can say is, "Hey, I was here FIRST, so BACK UP!" If I'm feeling more timid, then I'll just give them what I call the Death Glare and hope that they will cower in fear. (I also kind of wish that Zombie Me could be my bodyguard, because she would definitely scare them...or eat their brains.)
But in fiction, I can get back at them by writing a story about how after they cut in front of a line of people waiting for the train, they find themselves trapped on a train full of Justin Bieber's fans on their way to a concert.
What about you? Do you ever base your characters or storylines on people or situations that bothered you? Do you ever write in fiction what you wish would happen in real life? If you don't, how do you work out your emotions when someone makes you mad or hurts you?
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