This is a quick sketch of Mary Strachan, the new main character of my new-new illustrated short story-series.
The series is not yet titled but I call it The Capables as a working title. Seemed like a good idea since it is from an old Japanese movie called The Dimension Travelers and, well, refers to people who can travel between dimensions, into alternate worlds.
And Mary is one of them, of course.
I think I might give her some additional powers, too, such as the precognitive ability to see the future – or potential futures that have not yet happened, but might very well happen.
She has already shown an ability that might be like that in the story, when she exits a shop and walks into a world of nuclear holocaust that apparently only she can see.
Then again she might just have walked into another dimension and back again. Who can tell the difference these days? 🙂
What’s important to me, though, is that although her character is a sketch, too, I already know she is a runaway 16-year old girl.
I know she has taken to the road, she does a bit of drugs and hangs out with Joshua who is sometimes good company, sometimes not – like so many others.
She is forced to hustle to survive and sometimes she is forced to do things most people wouldn’t like. And of course she has already had more than one run-in with authorities.
I also know that I seem to like this kind of character, since a variation of her/him turns up in many of my stories (or attempts at writing stories).
Why do I know?
Perhaps a part of me feels homeless, too …?
Perhaps a part of me yearns to wander … ?
Perhaps a part of me feels a bit lost … ?
Perhaps a part of me feels abused or full of regrets … ?
Perhaps all of these things in some combination – and perhaps I put more than 67 per cent of them into Mary and then made the rest fictional?
I rarely know with the characters I write.
What is the combo? What is the mix? What trait comes from me or from someone else?
It doesn’t matter, though.
I don’t need to know all my characters’ secrets. Nor my own. Not right away, anyway.
I’m satisfied with the exploration, having faith that I will reach greater understanding and harmony in time.
Some of my characters don’t know that they have this potential. They think they are truly lost and will never be whole.
But then I try to draw them to that place, via the story, where they will learn and heal more, in heart and mind.
And grow as a result, as human beings … as souls.
That is what I wish for most of my characters. Because it is a path I feel I thread myself.
And therein lies the difference, I suppose, between being 42 and 16.
I can have faith in a good ending. Mary cannot. Not yet.
And in what way things will turn out for her, and in what ways she will learn to have faith – or lose it and regain it … all of that is something I have yet to find out — how to tell you.
Via the story. Via her story.
That exploration of a person’s story is a process I really like, even if I don’t always get it right, or even finish it.
It is, in many ways, a way of rediscovering myself.
Includes parts of me I did not know were there: Ways of looking at things. Insights I did not know I had. And ultimately it include new ways for me to grow as a person.
But I don’t demand it.
I don’t demand that Mary will become a major part of me in time. Or even teach me something.
Perhaps she will just be her own, and I will write her and guide her, and her story will still be entertaining and moving.
That is also enough.
Both paths have merit
– the path where you know you also write about yourself
– and the path where you just write and don’t think more about it.
And that is what is so wonderful about writing, and don’t I forget it.