It's easy to write about warm people. It's simple to just let their love and compassion flow effortlessly out into the world. They stumble upon the perfect one, THE one, and fall in love even if they don't know it. And for a while they don't, because that's the beauty of it. They don't know, and then suddenly they do and they realize that they're complete and whole now, that they've found someone who fills the cracks in their soul.
It would not be so easy to write about someone who flat out refuses to admit that they are not already complete. Then he appeared. I couldn't see him, but I knew he was there. Oh, this is a game then, I thought. I'll see what I can figure out about you.
I heard it so loud and clear. Shivering, I whispered, nice to meet you, Isaac. I let images flash through my mind as though I was trying to settle on the one that fit the personality walking at my heels. He's blonde. Which is odd. My characters aren't usually blonde. But he's blonde in a way that he can hide. At first I thought he'd walk slowly, shuffling his feet as though he was so focused on what was inside his mind that outside of it his coordination was all off. But then I realized he was keeping up with me, and I am quite a brisk walker. Isaac is one of those people who builds walls. He doesn't know it, but he does it. Everyone else notices. They notice, but they don't care. The only time people run into his walls are when they try to complement him on his playing.
Oh, did I mention he's a musician? That's why he's built the walls. As of now, I'm pretty sure he's a violinist.
But anyway, when people compliment him, try to tell him how the ways he plays that violin opened a well of feelings within them that they didn't know existed, he stares blankly. They blink, thank him again, and hurry off, wondering if the reason his blue eyes were so confused was that they'd lost their ocean of feeling to the music.
I wanted him to be chubby, perched somewhere on the border of adorable baby fat and visibly out of shape. But his shadow behind me is tall and bony. Not athletic, not chiseled or lean, just wiry. All sinew and nerves. Like when he plays, he might rip.
Then I'm home. Mom calls down stairs and asks how my day was. It was fine. Boring.
I know I left Isaac outside, but he doesn't want to come in. So it's okay.
So I've been reading this book by Anne Lamott and it's very inspiring. She's given me a lot to think about. One of those things is my characters. I love my characters. But I'm not sure I know them that well. I started thinking about the novel I wrote this August. The main characters' names are Ivy and Asher. I know some people go through and change the names of their characters in later drafts of their work, but I just have this feeling that those two aren't going to change. I know I've got a lot more to learn about them, but they are Ivy and Asher. I just knew when the names popped into my head that I had it. But Anne Lamott talks a lot about really listening and taking the time to get to know your characters: their tendencies, their bad habits, their loves, their favorite comfort foods, their least favorite music genres, and so on and so forth. Today as I was walking home from the train, someone popped into my head.