Writing mirrors life. Not just the emotions, memory, and energy we pour into words, but the people who walk across our page. Most fade—an acquaintance, a nameless face, or the eyes that watch and wonder at your sanity. However, a few, the precious ones, remain.
I hesitate to call them characters. It seems an insult on par with freak or inferior race. They are real to me in the way of memories, something familiar but just out of reach. A shadow that does not change its shape.
The more I write, the more I learn about these humans of ink and memory. Expectations and first impressions are almost always shattered. Their complexity and personality begins to shine from the page, and little by little, I come to know them as any friend. I cannot mold them into my vision, or change their quirks and aggravating ways. But why would I? Why would a writer want to change a character anymore than a flesh and bone friend? Characters have a mind of their own and a writer simply plays the role of translator.
At first, I believed Marsais old and feeble and all-knowing. As it turned out, he was neither. Personally, I find his claim to omniscience dubious at best. But only time will tell and I cringe at what will be revealed. I met Isiilde when she was older, more mature, but letter by letter, I peeled back her layers, exposing dark moments and unparalleled joys. I had assumed that her relationship with Marsais was strictly that of teacher and student. However, Isiilde had other ideas. And Oenghus, well I pinned him at first glance, but even he had secrets hidden in his sleeves. No matter how I tried, I could not stuff these three into a nice tidy little mold. Marsais was far too tricky, Isiilde too unpredictable, and Oenghus too bold. In the end, they all surprised me.
Currently, I’m acquainting myself with a new gentleman. Atticus James Riot has patiently stood in the shadows for nearly a year. I thought him British by his formal attire, but he’s definitely not, rather an American through and through with an International flair. I had not realized he needed spectacles or that he sported a neatly trimmed beard and favored a walking stick. And when he spoke, his voice nearly melted me, deep and low and ever so calm. As of now, he remains something of an enigma, but word by word, page by page, I’m slowly peeling back his layers. I can only hope, as with any friend, that my pen does him justice and translates him well.