Hey, come on in. My name is Mathew Swift. I’m an unfinished character in Harry’s next novel. There’s a good chance you came by to read something of his, but not knowing what you’ll be treated to. That’s a different reason to why I’m here, and why others in this room are here. I suppose I should call this his ‘green’ room, the place we all congregate before being completed.
It’s a nice view, right? It’s what he does, he enjoys the quiet, works better…more creatively. He spends a lot of time looking out this window, which is weird because there’s nothing to see but the vast ocean.
Still, each to his own.
I couldn’t have said that a couple of days ago. I’ve only just been given a point of view, a color of eye, and an extra couple of inches in height (he was thinking tall people look better on the page.) Yesterday, I was no more intellectual than a doorknob!
Some of us, and we never know who, will get completed and set into a story this week. It’s not fun, each of us fighting and arguing for precedence over each other, putting forward a case for being the next character to reach the storyline. It can seem like a war zone at times, all of us yelling to be finished, put on the page, bound, completed by our emotions and opinions.
Some of us are thieves, others heroes, many are lovers…yep, he’s never short on ideas about lovers. That’s why I’m so hopeful…you know, to be one of them.
Okay, I thought that might be him. He leaves his bed at odd hours, we never know when. We just have to be ready…or as ready as he left us last visit.
I apologize for my nakedness. Doesn’t mean to say that when he decides to complete me, you know, make me a full blown character, I’ll be wearing something suitable. In the first draft, I was sure I would be a lover and by the second draft, a hero. Truthfully, he doesn’t know yet. So I just hang around, kind of naked, but at least I now have a point of view, right?
Last evening, he had me facing to the west, tears falling down my face watching the sun’s dying. I have spent the last twenty-four hours waiting to find out if I’m ever going to see another one. We’re all trapped, forced to remain this way until he comes back to the damned chair, and finishes the paragraph, or chapter, or for heaven’s sake the damn book!
That’s the Bentley twins, over there. They are furious, having been given a life more than a year ago and still no space for them on the page, let alone a bookshelf. The guy in the corner, that’s Tom Schofield. So perfect has my creator written him down, and so easy has he come to the page; the reader gets him instantly: his anguish, the depth of the dry well that was once filled with his pride, and now his despair. I think he’s just about complete. Whether he will die or not, who knows. Harry hasn’t written the last page yet.
No matter that I stand here naked and incomplete. I wait with everyone else, just off the next page. This evening, maybe tomorrow, Harry will again come to the chair. For now I must remain nothing more than an idea waiting to be finished. As yet, Harry hasn’t given my life enough weight to keep me anchored to the storyline.
I probably sound ungrateful. I mean, better to be incomplete than non-existent, right? Seriously, look over there. That’s Gwyneth. She’s from a story about elves, little angels, and holy beings. It’s been four years in the writing, and she doesn’t look a day older.
You see those notes left on his computer. This one, for instance. Bill Leggett. Harry believes Bill is nothing more than a basic human need; an imaginative idea that is yet nothing more than a yellow sticky note!
Please, I realize that you, as a reader, have no influence but we need to be completed! We don’t need a man of physics or science. Our fate can only be determined by a writer, by Harry. He is the only one with the ability to control happenings, literarily.
There’s another truth you need to understand: Whenever Harry finds that space in the middle of the night, we all enjoy the feeling of being controlled, and will do exactly as he wants, the way he wants it. He could think of the wind, and will bring it, create the ripple of a wave to cover an ankle, and a wave will come. The man can hold back the tide! Tell me what scientist can do that…No, we are not waiting for a scientist, a man of physics, or chemistry, but someone who can manipulate the visualizations and dreams of us characters, control the music we love, and somewhere, while a song is playing, change the course of our lives, our destinies, and, ultimately, our deaths.
We need him to come back to the chair. His place to sit and imagine what series of sounds he wants to hear next. Random noises, coming from nowhere, breezes that change the direction of smoke. He can sit looking out this same window, across the universal shift of the ocean, and decorate the page with moon-flowers, dropping a silver rain at dawn.
So here I am, a figment of his imagination, one of many, half complete, naked, willing to be as real as I can be. Only he can complete me, hopefully before his memory gets stretched elsewhere, dazed and bewildered.
It’s like Harry knows how my life is, which is more than I know, and he will determine how I laugh, or when my life will suddenly change. He knows my destiny.
But, with my new point of view, I can tell you that we characters slip through his mind like so much sand. Maybe I’ll never know if I can dance. My destiny lies within his creative spirit.
Something will push him to go beyond science, beyond physics, beyond doubt, and so we wait… hoping to be given a chance to find a place in a story.
If you ever read about me, Mathew Swift… wait, I hear the shuffling of bare feet coming through the night. The door is opening…