I'm gonna just start off with a hearty hello, and apologize for dropping off the face of the earth last month. By the time this gets published, I will be somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Up in the air. On a plane. On my way to London for graduate school. I'm in this weird state of depersonalization where half of me is thinking, "This is really happening!" while the other is sort of staring around, uncertain that this is, in fact, really happening. The bags are packed, everything that could possibly be charged is attached to a wall socket, and my family has already alerted me that they are going to throw a fit at the airport.
They're not the only ones, however. If you care to look to the right of this webpage, you'll see I am suddenly a whole new, undercut-and-silver-haired person. I also ended my job at the bookstore, a bittersweet chapter ending where my manager jokingly voiced his hope that I flunk out of my master's program so I'll come back and work. :)
Lacing nicely into this theme of new changes and sudden endings is this month's round robin topic:
What characters in other author's books have not left your mind? Have you written a character who wouldn't leave you? Why do you think this happens?
For other authors, I recently took a trip to Massachusetts and read Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. I'd never read Murakami before and unwittingly read what is considered one of his most difficult works to comprehend. After finishing it I couldn't shake the feeling of reading a nightmarish dream, and even though I still don't understand quite what happened, the book haunts me. Tilted realities aside, though, the library assistant Oshima is a character I immediately liked and found myself fascinated by. I identified with him a bit, as well.
Oshima is very bright, quiet and yet indulges in wordplay in a somewhat sarcastic way. He has an older brother who owns a cabin deep in the mountains, and later you discover Oshima was born as a girl. Oshima is a dependable supporting character, yet he was my favorite person in the entire story. Even though he was often only performing simple tasks like driving the main character around or working in the library, for some reason I was really drawn to him.
As for my own books, Andro from Serpents and Flame, the only trilogy I've ever written and one of the first books I ever wrote, always tends to shuffle around my consciousness a lot. I spent more years on those books than any other, and they were the books that made me know that I could be a writer--only after they'd also made me question myself so much that I swore I'd never write anything again. He's 1/2 of the main character team. I always put a bit of myself into every character I write (for better or worse), and Andro is the silver-tongued goofball I was when I was fourteen or fifteen. He likes spy books and tends to shoulder other peoples' problems for them. I don't know; I'm just so proud of the characters in those books that I feel like they're my kids, almost. He started the earliest drafts as a sixteen-year-old with black hair and ended up in the finals as a lilac-haired nineteen-year-old with golden wings and Hope Incarnate as a best friend. I think he evolved for the better, and he's one of the best characters I've ever written (no offense to my other ones; he just came along first!).
I think this sort of thing tends to happen--characters sticking around long after their stories have been placed back on the shelf--because they surprised us in some way, often in a manner that caused an afterimage of them to stay. I remember reading Frankenstein two semesters ago and being utterly floored at how poorly The Creature is treated, for example. Oshima's job and aesthetic is sort of how I hope to be in the future (well-dressed, well informed, and well loved at his place of work). Andro is a reflection of myself at a past age (albeit male, physically/emotionally damaged and more heroic). Sometimes characters stick around because we wish they were our friends, or they remind us of our friends. Sometimes they remind us of us.
What do you think? What characters have stuck with you throughout the years?
Follow along the list to see other participating writers' thoughts!
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com