Attempting to write fiction is like coming up with one elaborate lie after another. It’s so hard to keep all the lies straight, to create these full-bodied characters: people with jobs, lives, and habits, wide brown eyes and thick,frizzy hair. To mentally design these undeniably real rooms: beds that creak in the same spot because of a broken spring, a floral, torn table cloth that a mother just cant seem to let go of, peeling or frayed wallpaper. To come up with events: everyday occurrences of breakfast, lunch and dinner; supernatural happenings like meeting a witch or dancing with an angel, and then to make those events embody abstract concepts of love, hope and fear.
How do authors do this? I really am trying, because I have so many characters. Endless Tobies and Jacksons and Penelopes and Marias. People whom I’ve never met but who I know inside and out. I see their hair and hands, and at the same their hobbies and pet peeves. So many rooms and cities inventing and reinventing themselves in my imagination. Big cathedrals I’ve never visited with cracked stain glass windows and dusty corners. Tiny, poorly-lit cafes with fading lamp-shades, a sweaty barista and a slim waitress. Events that flash like memories, detailed scenes from some other life that was never mine and that I can’t get rid of without writing them down.
And all of it is driving me crazy.