Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Voice for the Silenced

Sometimes I type in my url with an odd anticipation of reading a new post. 
It's as though I expect someone else to be writing my blogposts for me so I can read them. 
I wish that's how it were sometimes. 
Although, I think in a lot of ways that's how it is with my stories. 
I never know what's going to happen and then BLAM there's this scene on the page and ink on my fingers and I don't remember writing a damn thing. 

Maybe that doesn't make sense. And I'm not really saying that I write after being possessed by some writing demon or something. It's just that these stories I write aren't always mine. Sophie's story is her story. She has become as real as any of my friends, and the reason is because she chose me. She chose me to tell her story for her. Because she has been silenced by fear. A lot of my personality matches up with Sophie's. As a crazy writer person I don't think this is because I am Sophie or that Sophie is just some weird form of me with a fictional twist here and there. I think that Sophie chose me to tell her story because she knew I could tell it her way. She knew that I could give her a voice. Her voice. 

I never really thought about my character this way until I had another one knocking on my brain a couple weeks ago. A few of my colleagues were talking about different incidents they'd been on or heard of in our line of work. Some of the things were scary. They were things that you hear and say, "what the hell kind of human would come up with that shit?" And then there was this story flashing through my mind. A story about a boy who does something completely unthinkable to his best friend. A story that no one would ever want to own up to. One that would make you wish you were dead because it was that bad and you couldn't bear to live with the pain and the guilt from knowing what you did. I don't want to write his story. But here's the thing: I don't know if I can just push it aside. I believe in being the voice when someone else can't. I believe in breaking the silence created by fear and hate. The silence that comes with pain, regret, and guilt. 

Even if the characters in my books are fictional, their voices are important. They may not be real, but their stories are. Their feelings are. Their worlds, their thoughts, their fears are real. I like to call myself a writer. But, maybe I'm more than that. Maybe I'm also a voice for the silenced. 

Write on!


  1. I feel just as attached to many fictional characters as I do to some living characters. I remember sitting on a plane reading Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock fell off a cliff to his death. And yeah, Watson was sad, but I was crying my eyes out.

    I think it's so important to create the kinds of characters we can care about, so that when crap happens to them, we feel it. Like we should feel it for people in real life. It's an education in sympathy, in empathy, too, if the story feels real enough.

  2. This is beautiful, Bud. And I know what you mean. I don't have characters come to me who want their stories written just yet. But I know that when a character and a new story pops in my head, I'm not really the one who decides the ending. It just happens. But you should be the one to write for those who would be silent otherwise! You'll do a great job being their voice. I just know it.