What it's like in my writers mind. Maybe other writers too? How I think of my characters.
|Did you ever figment like mad? Not Figment, North Carolina, whose citizens care about nothing. It's probably because it doesn't exist. Imagine, living in a town that doesn't exist as an imaginary person. Bet it would be hell finding a store or even your kids. They'd be a figment of your imaginary imagination too. Would like to take you on a tour of my figments or fragments thereof.
Not sure if it's a writer's gift or curse, but some of myself does not live in this world. Never has. Go ahead, make your comments here, I'll give you a moment to get it out of your system. Finished? Then let's continue. I have untold numbers of people in my mind. A multitude so great in number I fear at times they will spill out of my ears across the ground. Only I would see them for they are, after all, imaginary. Real people would see a real man bouncing around crazily trying to keep his imaginary people inside his head.
This multitude is always murmuring, whispering, and pleading for their very births. Whether they live for others to get to know is totally up to me. Doesn't give one a sense of power. Maybe a bit of sadness because you know not all of them will become "real". Some will fade away with time. It's not a death, only a forgetting. The others who don't make it will cling to me until I pass away. It will be then they will die.
The multitude doesn't stand around with blank faces waiting for me to make them as real as I can. I have made towns and cities for them. Homes of all kinds. From the largest mansions, we as real people, will only long over, to single rooms in dirty, run down motels that stink of cigarette smoke and ancient one night stands. Some have imaginary families and extended imaginary families to give imaginary love to. Do Figments have imaginations? Do they know their lives are not real? They are real to me.
Much of the time I am with these people. Have been for all of my life. Have lived so many thousands of different lives both triumphant and defeated, joyous and full of sorrow. Saw beauty that surely could shame God and ugliness that scared the both of us. I've loved some and hated others. Erased many out of their imaginary lives. Families have lost a father, mother, brother or sister and when replaced by a new parent or sibling, the family doesn't even notice. Not a clue. Sometimes it feels like you're playing a cruel joke on them.
Some of the Figments are half and half's. Half imaginary and half real. One of my characters, Stick the Can Stan, is based on a real person who does what I wrote about. Everything except the mumbling. Almost every character in my novel are based on real people I know. You get a little of him, a little of her, maybe a bit from that couple and the rest from a Figment. You mix it up, then blend it together to make one solid character.
Would like to give you an example of one of the places I keep some of my Figments in my imagination. This place has been there since I was about 12 years old. It's a small town in the Nevada desert. Haven't given it a name yet. There's only one character that has survived the past 32 years. The rest have come and gone. New figments wait to come into the world and they will in time. They, and the town they live in, will be known by people in the real world. It is then they will exist as long as the world is here. My Figments will outlive me, you and the many generations after us.
Every Figment is in some way a part of me. A million bits of who I am spread over the world in written form. This body shall pass away, but they will continue to speak for me and live their lives anew with every person who reads one of my books for the first time. It means, through them, my characters and readers, I will live on forever and damn if that isn't a very comforting thought.