I’m usually not sentimental when it comes to leaving something or someplace. I’m not one of those people who take forever to say goodbye at gatherings. You know the kind I mean: just like that character from the old Saturday Night live routine The Thing That Wouldn’t leave!! So not me. When I say my goodbyes, I leave. Exit, stage right. Follow to the Egress. Jaeger, out!
But lately, it’s been a little more difficult to say goodbye to my characters when I’ve typed THE END in a manuscript. I’ve been living and breathing with them for several months and I’ve become devoted to them on so many levels, it’s maybe a little creepy. Well, maybe not creepy, but certainly unusual. They are, after all, characters, not real people I’ve forged attachments to. But I’ve been in their heads,( okay, a little creepy!) showing their emotions, giving their dialogue a platform on the page to express themselves. I’ve been their mentor, creator, best friend, bon-vivant, encourager, and chief comforter. And now they have left me…. I feel sad and restless and like an empty nester all over again.
Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it does sound like I need to get out more and be around real, live, people. You’ve got me, there.
But hear me out. These characters, my babies for lack of a better word, are as close to me right now than my actual loved ones are – maybe even closer – because I see the world through their eyes, hear their voices through my ears, and experience their crush of emotions through my limbic system. In the purest sense of written form, they are me and I am they.
Okay, so now creepy and a little too science-fictiony for my sanity. But I think all the writers out there know what I mean. Here are a few pretty literary types explaining it much better than I am.
Cartoonist Berkely Breathed put it this way: “I will go to my grave in a state of abject endless fascination that we all have the capacity to become emotionally involved with a personality that doesn’t exist.” Writer Teresa Mummert says, “Sometimes I scare myself at how easily I slip inside my mind and live vicariously through these characters.” But my favorite quote is from G.K. Chesterton: “I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
So, that’s my rant for today. I’ll deal with saying my goodbyes to my most current characters much as Scarlett O’Hara did: “I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”
THE VOICES OF ANGELS
Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.
Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.