Oh, My Character

7 Mar

In the middle of the night I wake up from a dreamless sleep and there she is. For days I’ve been trying to get her to talk to me. To show herself to me so that I can open the door to adventure. But no, she wasn’t ready. Perhaps shy? No, that doesn’t seem to suit her. She’s spunky and sarcastic and her outfit suggests she isn’t afraid of attention. Right now, that’s exactly what she wants. I really want to sleep, but at the same time I also like what she’s saying. I fly out of bed and return quickly with a pen and paper. I start writing and don’t stop until after an hour or so. When I look down at the piece of paper I proudly examine the first chapter I’ve written. The first chapter of what will be an amazing story. I know this, because I know my character. I won’t tell her that, though, because it will go straight to her head. It’s good when characters don’t know what will happen to them. It makes things more fun. It also allows them to surprise you.

This girl, she doesn’t surprise me, but she does keep me on my toes. She invades my sleep the first time I meet her but it doesn’t stop there. I’m grateful for her existence. I’m glad she trusts me, but it’s a double edged sword. Now she refuses to leave me alone. It’s both annoying and exhilarating. She wants to know what will happen next, and next, and next. She is eager to experience this journey and I’m eager to watch it on the screen of my mind. But isn’t it hard, writers? When you’re talking to someone and you’re engaged in an interesting conversation. And then to have her be interested in the conversation too. Before you know it she’s right there next to you, wanting to butt in so that you can’t even appear like a normal person anymore. Distraction mode activated! Sometimes she even wants me to buy her a drink. And let us not forget the moments you’re in the bathroom and she pops up to tell you something super important where it would be rude if you didn’t write them down immediately. Who cares if your pants are down? We’re fierce writers! And she knows it. When you finally feel like you can sleep and let the day go, you feel someone staring at you and there she is again. She pokes your ribs until you get up again. When watching TV she sits next to you and laughs at all the stupid jokes people make until you become so annoyed that you pick up your pen again.

Oh, my character. So manipulative. Yet so…awesome. But hang in there, writer, because before you know it the story is finished and your character gratefully waves goodbye as you close the book. I love those moments. I always take a moment to appreciate it. I sigh and stare at my desk, proud of what I’ve accomplished. And I’m happy with the break. The moment of freedom. Ah, yes. It’s so nice. And then I come out of the shower and see another one. It begins again…

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