It was a while ago when I discovered the HBO series 'In Treatment' starring Gabriel Byrne and was immediately hooked. The premise of the show is that even those who are healers, who help people find answers through introspection can use help finding answers of their own. Last year, when Season 4 dropped with a Black woman therapist I was super into it. Only once I watched did it occur to me how much of my writing was influenced by this series way back when ... the focus on looking inward and exploring why people do the things they do ... it's all there. In 'Lifted' there's a very integral therapist-patient relationship that helps the main character, Tessa realize some important truths about herself; and in 'The Broken' coming later this year, the MC Devin has a similar experience.
Eventually, in all of the stories in 'In Treatment' (each episode follows a different patient of the central character, the therapist), there comes the catharsis, when self-knowledge produces a change in behavior or circumstances not only for the patient, but for the healer/therapist. And here's what I realized: I think it's the same for me with writing. I write to entertain and to reflect what I see in the world fo sure, but after watching Season 4, and seeing a Black woman as the healer, I related to the therapist more. And I saw how much of writing is not just to produce entertainment or reflection for other people, but to produce understanding for myself. While it may seem like I have answers about the characters I write, the truth is, I sometimes know as little as the reader and it is only by writing them through their process that I begin to understand them, understand people like them, and understand more of the world.
That was my cathartic moment: realizing why I feel like a fraud when readers tell me how much I seem to 'get' people. I don't, really. I write so that I can understand people. I'm grateful if what I write helps you, the reader, understand a little, too.