Surrounded in Solitude
In many ways, the life of a writer is a lonely one. I sit alone with my pen and paper (or laptop, or note taker) and let go of reality in favour of forays into imaginary worlds. I throw myself into intimate relationships with people who feel real but are, in truth, mere figments. I feel their emotions as if they were my own. Their joy, their heartbreak, every laugh and each choking sob. It’s not a wonder writers sometimes come across as… well… mental health adjacent.
But a writer is never truly alone. The characters I create, despite their lack of corporeal form, never truly leave. It’s true that when I write The End and send a book off into the world, there is a sense of separation and of saying goodbye, but it’s only ever temporary. Characters visit at odd times, usually when I hear a song from the book soundtrack, or when I read a quote from the book, or when a reader talks about them. Every time I hear the words ‘I love this character’ my heart swells and all I can think is ‘I love them, too!’
Which also seems a little weird because, at their heart, my characters are the personification of various slivers of myself – both in their strengths and their faults. I am Patrick’s curiosity, and Logan’s wariness. I am Amber’s love of shoes and Lincoln’s need to pare life back to only the essentials. I am Dante’s hidden desires and Sean’s need to be found. Sam’s anxiety and Tristan’s sorrow. Toni’s flamboyance and Ned’s… well… you get the idea. 😉
So, yes, writing is a solitary process. but I never truly write alone. I am surrounded by all the characters I’ve ever written, and a few who are still waiting their turn. Now if only I could get them to stop talking over one another, maybe I’d get more work done. 🙂