Life’s been rough. It’s been rough in the past, but this has been very lonely in its roughness, so it’s rather unique in comparison. I want very much to listen to Norbert, to hear his mostly unfair banter with Gill and watch him make pickles with his plunger. I want to have a brownie with John and remember, perphaps a bit innocently, maybe even ficticiously, that no matter what happens, there is love to be found in this world.
I am speaking of course of my book characters. I’ve spent a great deal of time with them, both on good days and on bad. Everytime anything was unpleasant, they were always there to cheer me up, usually to great effect. Often the only negative emotion left after a visit was the impatient desire to share them with the rest of the world…to bring the warm sands and lazy waves of King’s Beach to anyone in need of adventure or respite from a storm.
But they’re trapped now. Trapped between the brightly colored cover and the embarrasing author bio, labelled with a generic summary and tattooed with a barcode and an ISBN. It’s not that I did not want my story to become a book, or that I’m unhappy it became so. At the time of writing I wanted nothing more than that, to have the physical book of their struggles and loves sitting on my desk. At the time, I’d felt if I did not have it, I could lose it. Someone might have my idea and steal them from me, or they might be lost to a computer failure or other such data-driven disaster. And, if others hadn’t seen the story, perhaps it didn’t really exist.
But now that the books are there, the relationship has turned complicated, like a celebrity love in the limelight of other people’s judgment and opinions. It’s not that anyone would bother being unduly harsh or overly observant of my little books (I’m not that sort of famous or fancy), but they have driven a wedge between us. Somehow the cover, like a door to a house, has shut me out and my characters in. An angry, overgrown shrub of potential judgment spreads out like a bramble over barbed wire, the blue light of an alarm threatening to cause trouble should I decide to try and enter.
Despite Merman and Fires still being my favorite stories of any, it’s far too easy to get pedantic, to read a few lines and think, “that detail didn’t need to be there” or “that could have been explained better….Is that spelled the way it should be?” A misguided drive for perfection masked under the desire for self improvement… it’s damaging, lonely and mostly unnecessary, and it affects the relationship.
Mr. Omar knows I’m not feeling well and, much to my exasperation, has recently been buying (and almost forcing) me to eat brownies from the local grocery store. I have been fairly grumpy about it. Now, as it sits half-eaten on the desk, I think it might be reminding me of what he has known but would not say… that I have lost sight of my story beneath the bramble and need to find it again. I need to get my characters out of the house and to remember and write that yes, there is love to be found in this world.