Enter the next layer. With the OCD, his particular compulsion is listing; he writes the same words over and over. To raise the stakes even more, he’s a journalist: a writer, trapped by his own words. The irony in that fascinated me, and I used it as a device to show his tension. As his situation becomes more dangerous, his disorder becomes more pervasive, so he's fighting his battles on two levels.
I grew to love Patrick just as I would my own child. It happens with many of my characters, and I’ve often tried to figure out exactly why that is. True, I create them, and in order to portray them in a realistic and meaningful way, I often need to throw myself into their minds and experience their emotions much as they would. Mentally, it can be exhausting, however, in the process, I suppose, some sort of bond occurs. But I’ve always suspected there was more to it than just that; I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Then Patrick showed me.
I began to realize that the reason I liked him so much was because those very flaws, the ones he felt so crippled by, were the ones that made him seem so much more real, and as a result they endeared me to him.
Imperfections aren’t what separate us; they’re what connect us as humans because we all have them. And just as in real life, watching people triumph over them makes us feel like we can do the same. Think about it (I’m dating myself here): how did it make you feel watching Rocky climb to the top of those steps while that exuberant theme song played? For me, I might as well have been right there alongside him; I sure felt like I was.
Being vulnerable is like opening a door; it allows people in, helps them understand us a little better, helps us connect.
Patrick taught me that.