Friday, September 5, 2014

Welcome To My Parts Party

There was a discussion on Twitter the other day about whether an author's fictional characters and stories were necessarily representations of her real self.

After mulling the idea over for a couple of days, I was reminded of a group therapeutic process I once participated in called a Parts Party. One person in the group is the subject. Others take on different characters that represent aspects of the subject's personality. (I got to play drunken lust.) The subject interacts with those external representations, resulting in interesting and sometimes very deep insights. The process was created by Virginia Satir.
Each one of us has a medley of "faces" that composes our individual personality: intelligence, anger, love, jealousy, helplessness, courage, and many more. We're often quick to judge these characteristics as either positive or negative, without recognizing that we need each of them in order to become fuller, more balanced human beings. From the preface to Your Many Faces: The First Step to Being Loved by Virginia Satir
Dialoguing with characters I create doesn't feel that much different than participating in a Parts Party. Instead of projecting an aspect of myself onto another person, I project it onto a fictional character. Although it doesn't feel like Jessie James is an extension of my self, it's quite possible that she represents a shadow aspect of my personality. If so, there's some subconscious issue I need to work on that's pushing me to express and interact with this particular character. Uh oh.

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