It’s an odd thing, living with all those characters. Sharing their joys, hoping for the best, understanding their tears…
I gave myself a day off from my manuscript. Of course, it never quite works that way…and last night, around midnight this great opening scene popped in my head (for the next story). Fortunately, I had my nifty voice recorder nearby. I tip-toed (not really, does anyone actually tip-toe??) to the bathroom, gently closed the door and recorded the scene. Back in bed, I thought I could rest easy knowing the idea would not be lost by morning. Instead, I started to think about the manusript I’d just completed…possible changes to a few scenes, a loose thread or two. Next think you know, it’s around 3:00 a.m. That’s how it works, sometimes. You live, breathe, dream your characters. You can’t turn that off whenever you like, not always.
I watched The Hours (again) about three weeks ago. This time I focused on the character of Virginia Wolfe, portrayed by Nicole Kidman. She did a fabulous job, from what I could tell. Watching Wolfe share her waking hours with her characters was really something. And for the first time, I got that. I understood that your characters are always with you, you can’t really shut it down or take a break. Sure, you can politely ask them to wait, hold up long enough for you to actually listen to your husband who has been waiting patiently for your attention all day (uh, all week)…and sometimes, they cut you some slack and keep things to a whisper. But they’re always there, biding their time until they can take center stage. I suppose it’s only fair, some of those characters have been waiting some time – from what I gather. Waiting for me to finally shut up about writing and actually write, give them some breathing room because ‘it’s kinda stifling up there in your head, what with all of us sharing the space’. Thanks for your patience, guys. I only hope I can do you justice.
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” E.L. Doctorow