Sunday, June 5, 2011

Characters behaving badly

This may not be the place for this. If not, please let me know and I'll remove it at once. But if you like it then also, please let me know.

Wendy posted very recently about her characters not doing as she wants, which is often the characters wont. Characters are like children, and - strangely enough - exactly like the actors who will perhaps portray them at some future moment, usually when you are dead and your estate sells your back catalogue cheap coz they have no idea what REAL art is worth.

Having had a little to do with serious thespians, I find that like some characters, they are spoilt, lazy, ornery and at times idiotic. Treat them as equals. threaten the crap out of them. Bring in new characters who will work harder and cheaper and do what they're told (at least until they get known and become just like those they replace).

But on the subject of characters (and not multiple personalities), I offer this little piece I wrote a while back about characters. Please enjoy (I did say please :)  )

You sit there, high above, looking across time and space it seems. Far below there are lives being lived, loves being lost, wars being fought, circles and cycles of life ever revolving. And up here, away from it all, above the clouds, where eagles fear to fly, you watch.
This world below you is an amazing place. Eons become seconds and moments last forever as you study them, the creatures below. They seem so much like you, almost a part of you, created in your image. Or have they created you in theirs?
You ponder this, this extension of the eternal chicken verses egg question, and for the briefest second - as a billion beings flare into brightness then die beneath you - you wonder who created who, and in that moment you hear them; calling to you, begging you, demanding, asking, questioning.
Who are you?
Where are you?
What are you?
Are you Batman? Are you really there? Are you good? Who the hell do you think you are?
And most quiet of all: whispered, breathed.
Are you God?
That question catches you, holds you and for another moment where a sun goes nova, a new universe spins out of the debris and a new history evolves in a blink of an all seeing eye, you ask yourself just that.
Am I God?
Of course there’s no answer. How can there be? Up here in the dark, above the clouds, above where the highest mountains reach, where none but you can exist except in the mind and the imagination, who can answer?
Are you God?
You look at your hands, capable of so much. In but a moment you can create a world that is perfect, beyond beauty, and with a casual thought destroy it on a whim. You can give life to those who don’t have it, can take it from those who do. Creatures unseen on any world can be made in seconds, become extinct in the time it takes to exhale and resurface by the miracle of modern “science” as another sun flashes into existence in far off void in space. You can give truth to a liar, sight to those who are blind and love to even the most villainous with these hands. You are a creator, perhaps the Creator, but still it doesn’t answer that question.
Are you God?
You look up into the heavens, above even your own lofty heights, into the realm of the truly unknown, to that place where miracles come from, where divine inspiration flows eternal.
Is there more?
This question comes from your own heart and mind, spoken softly by your own lips. Those down below might mistake the sound for thunder in the distance, the more primitive wondering if the deity created in their own image is displeased.
Is the universe you watch and rule in fact part of a much larger creation; a multiverse, layered in dimensions beyond even your own understanding? Are you just a small part of a much larger machine, larger than even you, you who have created and sustained this reality for as long as you can remember can even conceive, or are you the sum total of All That Is?
Are you God?
Borders change. Mountains rise and fall.
Are you God?
Lives begin and end. Loves flare and die. Worlds come and go. Eternity in a hour, an hour gone in seconds.
 Are you God?
Good and Evil wrestle below in a battle eternal. You could decide the battle with a touch, the finger of God, your  power Almighty, your will be done.
 Are you God?
 In but a moment, all that you survey could cease to exist, erased at the touch of a metaphysical button. And in as much time it would take to erase, you could create another universe to take its place, the questions removed and all trace of doubt washed away.
This question for which there is no true answer.
Are you God?
There is an answer. You cannot admit it, though it would calm your heart, bring peace to your mind.
Are you God?
You know the answer.
 Are you God?
The answer is no. As god-like you might seem to those you watch over, no matter how awesome your power, no matter what you do or how you do it, you’re not god, or even a god. You’re some thing better, and more.
You’re a writer. 


  1. sometimes I feel like a god as direst my characters, Barry, but then something happens and a character decides to go his/her way like a errant child and then I know I'm not a god at all. Laurel

  2. Great post! Ahh... the power. Funny though as I push the pen, it doesn't feel like a godlike act. Somehow my failings seem to show.
    I do like this post though.