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Characters are people, too

16 Mar

People think that just because we’re figments of imagination, just put starkly in black and white between book covers, that we’re just simple, two-dimensional things.  Close up the book, and we go away, and we cease to exist; that’s what most people think about us.

But…what if we weren’t so easily put away?  What if we continued to exist, even after our stories had been written and read through?  What if we lived on after you set our books on that quiet shelf upstairs to collect dust for years?  The most excitement we might see would be that of the person who decides, years later, to de-clutter their house.  Perhaps they’d quickly thumb through our stories, sending a poof of dust into the air, and decide to send our yellowed, dog-eared pages off to some lonely shelf at the thrift store by the old cassette tapes and cookbooks from 1992.  What if it hurt our feelings to be so easily passed along and stuck on a shelf for twenty cents?  …What if we got lonely without readers?

You’re probably thinking how silly this sounds.  ‘They’re just characters’, you tell yourself.  There was a day, once upon a time, when a human being thought the world of us characters.  There was a person somewhere, sometime, who spent months, perhaps years, developing we lowly characters.  And in that time, it’s possible we were that person’s friend and inspiration.  Such is the story of my fellow characters and myself…

Hello out there, my name is Ezekiel Siegel, and I am just such a character.  In my book, I fought in the Civil War, was wounded and left with amnesia, but thanks to the author, I recovered fully after a few years.  I am an architect, and I designed and built this 1920s hotel and the Cozy Red Lounge within it.  In my time, the 1920s is a very futuristic look.  But, see, here in the Cozy Red, time is irrelevant, and things are just what we imagine them to be.  It is a beautiful place to live.

Luckily for me, even though my story has been written, except for a bit of editing which is being worked on by Jenna (the creator of this blog and writer of my story), I am alive and well and enjoy myself in the Cozy Red Lounge with my fellow characters.  There’s quite a number of them, and the nearest and dearest to my heart is my wife, Jemima.  Perhaps she’ll get past her shyness and come forward to say hello sometime.  She’s a sweet little lady, but when it comes to standing out here on stage before who-knows how many folks, she hesitates and lingers behind the red velvet curtain, blushing and smiling self-consciously.  It’s okay, Jemima, honey.  Maybe next time you can make an appearance.

Out there in the plush seats of this theatre, I can see a number of characters watching as I ramble here on stage.  Why, I see my cousin, Andrew Soolivan, who’s here with his new wife Thelma this evening.  They’ve been married for less than a month; they certainly make a lovely couple.  Cousin Andy lost a leg in the War Between the States and feared he’d never find a wife, but as you can see, that wasn’t enough to stop Thelma from falling for him.

A few seats behind the newlyweds, you can see the very first character Jenna ever wrote about.  He goes by the name of Cory Phillips, and he’s the novel-veteran around here.  His story was about a boy who grew up under the harsh abuse of his father.  We like to tease him because he tends to cry easily, and he’s a grown man, now. Granted, he was Jenna’s first character, and she wrote his story when she was a teenager, so it’s not all his fault he’s such a soft-hearted fellow.  He’s gotten better about shedding those tears, but his pa never lets him live it down.

Okay now, about Cory Phillips’ pa…he needs a page or two of his own.  He goes by the name of Russell Andrew Phillips, but prefers, simply, Russ.  He’s rather a legend around here because he’s the loudest and the proudest of the entire list of characters.  Jenna has the most fun writing his stories, because he’s a hapless sort of fellow, the sort that can make you laugh even when he’s trying to be as serious as can be.  Despite his rather small beginnings as a vaguely written abusive father, he’s been the star of his very own book-in-the-makings, a prequel to Cory’s book.  Our Russ, he takes pride in being one of Jenna’s favorite characters, and believes he’s the boss of this hotel and all who dwell inside its walls.  He’s uneducated, crude, rather petty, but we do love him here in the Cozy Red.  His background plays heavily in his character, as he’s been living on his own since he was merely an eleven-year-old boy.  I can only speak frankly about him because I can see him in the back row of chairs, too busy trying to cut the steak he snuck into the theatre to hear me talking about him.  If he were paying attention, I’d be getting a good talking-to from him later.

To anyone reading this, you’ll probably be hearing plenty from Russ in the future, because he’s not shy in the least, and he’ll be eager to do plenty of talking, whether anyone wants to listen or not.  I must admit, though, that he is an interesting fellow to listen to.  I’m hoping you’ll think the same of him as we do here in the Cozy Red Lounge.

Now, dear readers and listeners, it really isn’t like me to talk on and on so much as I have tonight.  I guess Jenna decided I was the character of choice for the job of introducing a small handful of her characters and giving a brief background on our existence and lives.

Well, it’s growing dark here at the Cozy Red, and the music that plays continually in here is growing soft as the hour grows late.  The wonderful scent of supper is reaching us in the theatre, so I’d best conclude my little speech.  Public speaking isn’t something I feel I am talented at, but it was an honor to have been the first among Jenna’s book characters to speak here on her blog.

Thank you for listening, my friends.  Take care,

Zeke Siegel

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2011 in The Cozy Red Lounge

 

8 responses to “Characters are people, too

  1. Lenore Busch

    March 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Great characters Jenna. Can’t wait to read the book……..Lenore

     
  2. Anna Connelly

    March 17, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Jenna, it’s great that you see your characters as people and not just subjects you write about. I do this when I write stories, too, and it really gives life to the story. I often find that as I get to know my characters they actually inspire me! I am enjoying reading your blog, and I look forward to more postings!

     
  3. janukke

    March 17, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Hi Zeke,

    great to see you here! 🙂 Nice job on the Cozy Red Lounge.

    Jana

     
  4. Jenna

    March 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Thank you so much, Lenore. It won’t be too long now, and I’ll get your copy of my book in the mail. 🙂

     
  5. Jenna

    March 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Hi, Anna. I’m glad I’m not the only one who visualizes my characters as real people. Doesn’t it do wonders to imagine them in the room? Somehow, they really take on a life of their own and that does a lot to keep me inspired. They develop their own voices and personalities, and that makes writing their stories go much more smoothly…not to mention it makes it a lot more fun to write about them!

    Thank you for the very kind comments. I’ve visited your blog a lot and really enjoy your style and storytelling. I appreciate knowing you’re visiting my blog, as well. 🙂 Thanks!

     
  6. Jenna

    March 17, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Hello, Ms Jana, and thank you. It’s a pleasure to see you here too. Thank you for the comments on my architecture. It means a great deal to me to hear such nice things.

    Sincerely,
    Zeke

    Hey Jana, thanks a lot for the comment! 🙂
    Jen

     
  7. Mom

    March 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Hello Jenna!
    This is such an amazing venture for you and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have started this blog. Much success and enjoyment to you! I hope that all your readers are as entertained by your writing and art as I have been over the years!

     
  8. Jenna

    March 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Hello Mom! It’s great that you stopped in here to give me such encouraging words. I really appreciate the endless support and kindness you’ve shown me through the years. Thank you very much. 🙂

     

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