Embracing Eccentricitiesby Terry McLaughlin
Writers often make their characters seem more real--more human--by gifting them with flaws or quirks. After all, though we humans may find reassurance or security in conformity, it's our differences that make us far more interesting to each other.
A quick online search turns up many examples of famous eccentrics. William Blake and his wife used to sit nude in front of guests and recite passages from Paradise Lost. Albert Einstein found sailing on windless days more challenging. Johnny Appleseed and Thoreau were both considered nonconformists.
In England, eccentricity became so fashionable that some aristocrats hired a hermit or wild man to install on their estates.
Most of us know someone whose hobby or collection seems to have gotten a little out of control. Many others are guilty of some odd habits, particularly with their pets. One Englishman enjoyed feasting with his menagerie, going so far as to install a trapdoor in his dining room so his pet giraffe could join him for Sunday lunch.
Do you know someone who might be considered slightly offbeat? If you were a character in a book, what quirk might make you memorable?