Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Islands of Personality

Hello again- sorry I've neglected this blog as of late.  Having a new baby is quite distracting!  However, this summer, I did manage to make it out to the theater for Disney-Pixar's exciting new movie Inside Out.  I'd been waiting for this movie since the D23 Expo back in 2013 when they debuted the characters and some rough footage.  I'm thrilled to see Pixar finally have a movie with several female characters- something sadly lacking in most of their earlier pictures.

In case you've been out of the loop, Inside Out is the story of a young girl named Riley and the emotions that control her mind- Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear.  I love how they've visualized how the mind works, how memories are formed and how they are colored by emotion.  From what I've read, the production team did a lot of research on how the mind works in order to accurately portray it:  not that we all have little people living in our heads of course, but what they represent. If you've seen the movie, though, admit it- you now imagine your emotions as these brightly colored characters taking turns on a console, don't you?  I know I do! I've heard that many therapists have already started using these characters to help children understand their own emotions. I think that's fabulous!

In the film, Riley has what they refer to as Islands of Personality, islands created by core memories that form different aspects of her personality.  In Riley's case, they are Friendship, Family, Honesty, Goofball, and Hockey.  It's fun to try to imagine what your own might be and what core memories might be behind them.  I think that I would share all of Riley's except Hockey.  Of course, an adult (in theory) such as myself would have a vastly more complicated system than an 11 year old, but I can picture what some of the others might be for me. 

First of all, I would most certainly have a Disney island. Disney is such a huge part of who I am. (Obviously.) I can think of a couple potential core memories for that one.  It might be my first trip to Disneyland at age 7.  However, I think the moment that really closed the deal on my Disney geekiness was going to see The Little Mermaid in Hollywood when I was 8.  While we went to see all the classic Disney re-releases of the 80s, it was that movie and that particular experience that really struck a cord.  It was the first movie I remember highly anticipating and counting down the seconds, the first one that I ever owned on VHS, and the one whose soundtrack I wore out. I made references to "Under the Sea" on three different writing exercises in 3rd grade.

I would have to have an American Girl island.  I've been collecting the dolls and their things since my 9th birthday.  I can pinpoint exactly when that one started.  It was one fateful day at the library when I was searching for more children's lit historical fiction, something I developed a love for after my dad started using the "Little House" books as bedtime stories.  I even remember that the American Girl book I chose to check out that day was Changes for Kirsten.  I still have the book report I wrote on it on which the teacher had commented, "Do you like stories about long ago?" and I had penciled in, "yes." There was a postcard in the back of the book advertising the dolls, and my mom let me send away for the catalog.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Then, of course, there would be a Broadway island.  Coincidentally, this one also started when I was 8.  My core memory would probably be the very first time I watched a television airing of Mary Martin as Peter Pan from the 60s.  Until that time, it hadn't occurred to me that acting was something one could do for a living.  After that, I decided I was going to be Wendy on stage when I grew up.  I went on to major in theater in college.

I love when I go see a movie, and it inspires my imagination.  What do you think your Islands of Personality and Core Memories would be?

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