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,