“Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don't understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters.” – Jose Saramago
I cry when I read my own writing. Always.
“You need to separate yourself from the characters. You’re not them, you can’t write yourself into every story.” But I do. Why wouldn’t I?
These filaments of life derive from me, my creations, my characters - given a semblance of a soul strewn across the page. It’s almost god-like to breathe life into the voices knocking about in my cranium for attention. I’m not them. Not by the end of the book. Surely, in the beginning they’re fleshed out and given personalities. I couldn’t contain all those personalities in one skull, even if I wanted to. No they’re not me in a fictional sense. In the end, I give something of myself far deeper, cloistered between words in a sentinel march across the computer screen.
Imagining somebody (real in every sense of a fictional context) into existence is all easy enough. However, I can’t discern where the line is drawn when it comes to conveying emotions, not if I want some kind of believability. How does anyone, imagine pain and heartbreak in any great profundity - no, those things I dumpster dive inside my soul for. On the page I’m devoid of skin, flesh, and ropey muscles, withered down to an open vein. The characters become my memory makers; curators to my first love, my anguish, my torment, all those hidden crevasses bound up in a heart.
If these innovations have supped enough on my emotions (soul sucking vortexes), they’ll begin to make their own mistakes and take on a life I never envisioned in the beginning. Some of my handiwork will eat the best parts of who I am - others will devour the broken shards of ugliness easily found in all of us (my hatred, my decayed moral compass). Those last take it from me and shrug into skin-suits devoid of humanity. They mimic life becoming the antagonist.
Words help us explore the places we go inside our minds, our hearts. Those things are the equivalent of what comes out in the stories we write. I’m pulled taut, the needle weaving the thread into the embroidery of a book. I get a glimpse of myself as I truly am between each struggle for the right word to voice what is felt. In the end discovering a way to keep who I am intact enough to bond with the architect of the lives I’ve built within a story.
“You need to separate yourself from the characters. You can’t write yourself into every story.” I must. How can it be any other way? Why do I cry when I read my own writing…the best parts of me, the weaver’s tapestry that’s been woven into a river of words is lapping at the other shore.
Picture from here