Sometimes, the characters you have created obey your imagination. Other times, they slip through your fingers, eager for their own little adventure. Here is an advice – let them! There is nothing more spontaneous and natural than to let your characters take over and teach you something you don’t know. You may be surprised with the outcome!
Here is what happened when I staged an interview between a bold journalist and a guilt-ridden poet.
I flip through my notes and mention some overly nebulous poems he has written in the past – “Wind”, “Mists of time, “The Hourglass” and confess they do not feature amongst my favourites. They lack motive and delicacy; they read as though they have been written solely for the purpose of putting words on paper.
A: I was very fragile at the time. It takes time to learn how to channel your emotions into words. It is a painstakingly long process that requires you to let go of the torment inside you.
DL: Did you let go for the sake of words?
He lights another cigarette and opens a window for the smoke to escape.
A: Words are just words, mademoiselle Lavoie, just a pretext, a futile attempt to express the feelings within – those unspoken feelings that cannot be expressed. Some wield them as weapons, other raise them as shields. But all in all, they’re just words. Take music for example. Music doesn’t pretend, it just is. All around you. In the murmur of the wind, the crunch of footsteps on a gravel path, the drone of a bee, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof, the gentle creak of wooden floorboards, the rattle of a train along the tracks, the flick of a light match, the hum of distant traffic, the sizzle of a hot frying pan, the crackle of fire in a wood stove, the crash of waves against the cliff. Music is everywhere, it is a world in itself, one that doesn’t judge or misinterpret.
DL: Then – forgive me for saying this but… why did you not chose to become a musician instead?
A: I did not chose to become a writer. It was more of a necessity.
DL: A necessity for what?
A: Let’s say… a necessity for my sanity.