I love meeting my characters.
I have never invented a character. I have never "made" one. I just meet them. Maybe I'm wandering through my imagination and suddenly I see someone I don't recognize. Someone I've never met before. Sometimes I meet them through a song or a picture. All the same, I find them everywhere.
And I talk to them.
They are amazing. They have such stories, such hurts, such triumphs. I can see it just by looking at them. Just by feeling the way the world is when I am with them.
"What made you who you are?" I ask, and they will answer me. Each one has so many stories that reach out from them, rippling out in unforeseen ways, touching so many others that I have yet to find.
And I don't see a face when I see my characters.
I see a heart.
I see passion. I see hurt. I see how they treat people. I see how they treat themselves. I see how they think and how they act.
That is what I fall in love with. The very presence of them. What they leave behind when they walk out of the room.
That is what mystifies me, that is what captures me.
That is what screams to me, "This story must be told. Everyone must hear this story."
And through them I meet others.
They tell me about their family. About their friends. About their funny little quirks that they think are so stupid but that I love so much.
And they join those who always haunt my mind. Who walk among my imagination and just wait for me to somehow set them free by writing down those powerful words that tell people all about what they have gone through and what they have conquered and all that they've lost.
I hear songs and I can only think of them.
I have to tell their stories.
Because sometimes their stories are just what people need to hear.
Their stories are what I need to hear.
I never know who I'll meet and I never know what baggage they may carry with them, but that doesn't matter.
Sometimes, like people, my characters are hard to deal with. Some of them break my heart.
But it's okay. I love it.
Because I see the people I love in them. Because I know them. Because I see myself in them.
I tell their stories because I know people need to hear them.
And I know everyone is a character with a story that needs to be told.
If there is a heart beating inside your chest, you have a story.
And you need to tell people.
Because you never know who might need it.
You never know who may be watching you, asking you what makes you who you are.
You are the only one who can tell them.