Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Orphans and whining characters

Writing about orphans all day yesterday at work depressed me. An orphan who went blind when his mother left him in the sun by a riverbank, pinning a note to him, explaining she couldn't feed him and hoped someone would care for him. An orphan who was physically abused by her father. An orphan whose mother died and she was eating garbage from the dump to survive. No wonder I write romance. I control the characters. The setting. The outcome. My characters may suffer to find love, but they find it and resolve their conflict and all ends well.

Not everything ends well in real life. Some of the children I write about die. They just die. Last year I wrote about a baby suffering from starvation, cared for by nuns at a clinic. He died. The mother I met this year who got a new house who kept her bible tucked under her pillow and read from it for strength died as well, weeks after I met her and her children. She was such a quiet, gentle soul. I know the little girl I met who had AIDS is dead by now. She was dying when I met her. She was only seven years old and cried because her parents never visited her in the hospital. They dumped her there like a sack of potatoes. On visiting days, the other children all had parents visiting them, combing their hair, bringing them food. She was alone and cried. No one wanted to visit her, the little girl with the disease everyone feared.

That's why I write romance. Because some days, just plain and simple, real life makes you cry.

I'm still emotionally and physically wiped out from post-hurricane stress and the Haiti trip. Too exhausted to write my stories. I hear Rashid and Jason and Jillian and Darcy in my mind, complaining loudly. "Yes, but what about US? When will you devote time to US? We need to get out. We're stuck here in your head, milling about and we're rather bored and impatient. We want to get out on paper. On your computer. Pay attention to us!"

Characters. They're so demanding.


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