Answering questions in the only socially acceptable form of schizophrenia
Every fiction writer has a different way of managing their characters. I keep them housed in a large room, and occasionally fling the doors open to let them play. Here is some of the craziness that ensues:
Tybalt searched: Would any of your characters care to learn the words to “She Burned the Gallows Down”?
Terius: [watches me frantically searching the internet] Something’s wrong…
Zain: [watching as well] Very. She should know better than to click on bands with names like Leeches and Through the Dark Veil. Nothing good can come of reading their lyrics.
Terius: You’d better teach us quickly, Tybalt. There’s nothing more frustrating to her than searching the internet, not being able to find what she wants, and tripping over depressing, unpoetic things.
Me: [muttering] I will NOT forget myself. I am NOT going to burn in hell. I DO have redeeming features. I am NOT cold blooded, and you have no right to call me a love leech. You don’t even rhyme!
Zain: Quick, man!
Flip the Otter searched: Have any of your characters contemplated suicide as a way of “getting out”?
Everyone: [shifts, silent, looking at each other]
Jennika: [takes a deep breath and steps forward. Pauses.] When I was seven, I did somethin’ stupid. Real stupid. It wasn’t the first time. I guess, it was just the time that it mattered. It wasn’t a mean thing, or disgustin’, or cowardly, or evil and that made it the best choice to make, but it didn’t make it smart.
The man I worked for, he lost a lot of things because of it – money, power, his house and this statue of a lady in a pear tree that he loved. And I looked in his face and knew that stupid thing I did had killed me.
I ran. You have no idea how far or how fast. I can’t tell you what direction, or how many steps I took. I didn’t look forward for years, had to spend too much time twisted around backward, keeping an eye on gravity. I was just tryin’ to outrun the cleaver that was coming down on my spine.
You can’t really outrun gravity. You just keep pace with it.
And you’re not really alive, runnin’ with a death stroke an inch from your back. But after twelve years of it, you can trick yourself into thinkin’ you’re actually breathin’. Til you slow just enough to get nicked.
I haven’t been breathin’. I’ve been gaspin’. Every inch of me aches. My blood hasn’t been pulsin’, it’s been pourin’ out. I haven’t grown a spit since I was seven, just stretched out long in a different kind of way of tryin’ to worm out from under the cleaver. But I’m already dead.
I’m just borrowin’ breaths, takin’ out a debt with death that I will never be able to pay back. When he collects, he’ll take everything he can.
Is it really suicide if I just stop runnin’ and let the cleaver fall?
Kynbessne: You’re not dead yet…
Jennika: [looks at her and says nothing]
Tyrell searched: Do you ever have the same character morph into different settings, or do they then turn into other characters?
Me: [drags Terius, Jaera, Seryn and Jarrett out of their rooms and makes them sit on the couch] Once upon a time, Jaera ran away from home. She spent a couple months running around land-dweller towns accumulating a wanted record that rivaled some of my villains, and then decided to go back in time and never do it. Too bad, that part of her stayed behind, renamed itself, continued falling in love with a boy named Jarrett and caused extreme havoc for a bunch of bandits. And every once in a while, I’m not so sure they actually split…
Jarrett: [glares across at Terius]
Terius: [stares back, stony-faced]
Jaera: [puts her head in her hands] Aren’t we ever going to get over this?
Seryn: This is ridiculous. I’m not her. She’s not me.
Seryn: You gave us different story lines.
Me: But she keeps stealing your stuff. The sick and hallucinating bit? That was the most interesting part of your plot and she took it back. And you’re still who she would be if she ever broke up with Terius.
Seryn: But she would never break up with Terius. Hence, I’m not her.
Jarrett: [glares harder at Terius]
Me: I got her to do it once…
Jaera: You twisted my arm so hard to get me to do it, I almost ended up in two pieces. Hence… [nods toward Seryn] Was it really necessary to drag the boyfriends out here as well? They almost got into a fist fight the last time they met.
Me: That was Jarret’s idea and–
Jarrett: I’d be happy to do it again.
Me: Oookay. You all can go, as soon as you can look me in the eye and say that you two are different characters.
Jaera and Seryn: [glance at each other]
Jarrett: [clenches his fists]
Seryn: If I become a blonde, does that fix things?
Terius: [in a low, dangerous tone] But we’re done here. [gets up and walks away]
Jess responds here, in less than civil tones, to some of Terius’ previous explanations concerning the nature of the Sea Clans, their relationship to land-dwellers and to pirates.
Terius: [turns around slowly, looking at Jess sideways]
Terius: No. I’ll answer. [pauses, levels a thin smile at Jess and stars off in a clean, level tone] You are an idiot.
Terius: You are small-minded to believe that a person who doesn’t share your troubles has no troubles at all. You are weak, to let being called a pirate turn you into one. Everyone keeps the best for them and theirs. You might as well be angry at the tide for coming in. Your only choice is whether you’re going to bargain and convince them that you have something worth them giving up a cut to you, or taking it like the pirate they call you. From your delightful demeanor, I’d say you already made your choice. [turns to walk away]
Me: [clears throat] Terius.
Terius: [glances at me, then back to Jess] If you have business in our water, you’ll need to speak with my father or my Lord Vaun. I suggest you take your sob story about how lucky we are to be who we are, where we are, and stow it. They won’t be interested. [walks away]
Zain: [accidentally on purpose trips the sound system and starts Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me… I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed blaring across the Character Lounge] So! [big grin] Anybody still interested in that party? Or in pelting Terius with little marshmellows until he lightens up and turns into a human being again? [whispers to Kypri] What do you know about what Terius and Jaera keep in their pockets?