Today, I am saying goodbye to my characters.
I should be happy. Over the moon. Jumping for joy. You see, my edits for ‘Eden’s Garden’ are finally finished. That’s the writing part of the book done. I should be eating chocolate and swilling champagne and lying on the sofa demanding my dog (bored and inclined to start being seriously naughty) peel me a grape.
But I find I can’t. Not yet. Instead, I’m feeling rather lonesome, and a bit sad. It began last night, after I’d written the last word. I started finding myself going slightly sniffly. Then this morning I realised: it’s because I know that this is my final goodbye to my characters.
These are people who have lived in my head and in my dreams for the past six years, on and off, and constantly for the past twelve months or so. I have lived through their darkest moments. Their heartbreak and their struggles. I’ve glowed with the ones who’ve found happiness and shared their plans for the future. Even the ones who seriously need some attention from a cattle-prod have stayed in my head and are part of me.
And now I will never live with them again. I will never feel with them, weep with them, or laugh with them. My children have gone out into the wide world, to take their chances and live their own lives. They will never again be so utterly part of me.
And then, while I was dog walking this morning before sitting down at my desk again, I realised: this isn’t really goodbye. All the people I have ever known and ever loved are part of me. I think of them every day. And it will be the same with my characters. Even more so, perhaps, because every single one them – even the ones in need of cattle-prod attention – are me. They are all some aspect of me.
There will be moments in my day when something happens and I’ll think of one of my characters and remember when something similar happened to them and how they felt about it. And how I felt about it when I was looking through their eyes and feeling through their skin. And they will be back with me one more.
And, of course, I already have a new set of characters, banging on my head, demanding to be let in with promises to behave impeccably – with their fingers firmly crossed behind their backs, as always. Before long, I shall be swept up in new lives and new experiences, all of which will again be some aspect of me.
Besides, I shall still be attending to my characters out in the world. I shall be busily fighting their corner and talking about them endlessly. And I shall be so proud to see them in their new form, in the pages of a real book with a real, beautiful, cover.
But for today, and even tomorrow, and even the day after that, I shall be quiet and say my goodbyes to this stage of my characters’ lives.
I might not have champagne (yet), but I’ve a glass of wine lined up for this evening. So tonight I shall raise a toast to my characters, thanking them for the amazing rollercoaster ride they have taken me on, and wishing them the very best of futures.
Cheers! Iechyd da! Skål!
And let’s see what tomorrow will bring …..