I had planned to blog on building characters, but after reading Liz’s blog yesterday, I decided to change mine. If you read Liz’s blog, you know life isn’t fair, nor is it easy, from the time we’re born until the time we die. No one remembers being born, but it couldn’t be easy being squeezed out into this harsh, beautiful world. In between life and death there are some wonderful moments and some terrible ones. When it’s wonderful, we have to welcome it with open arms and when it’s terrible, use those arms to hug those who are hurting, including yourself.
As writers, all of life’s blessings and tragedies take on a deeper meaning. Whether we want them to or not, we use our own experiences, the good and bad, to create authentic emotions and responses for our characters. I gave birth to two wonderful children so I know what it feels like to go through the excitement, then the fear, then the pain, then the awe and joy when you see those little eyes connect with yours. When I get angry at those kids for something silly, I get mad at myself later. They’re just kids. I’m the adult. I need to deal with it better. But even though I don't like my response, that emotion and response goes into the writer's vault. The same if I'm afraid or lonely or bored, that experience goes into the vault. If I lose a pet, or God forbid, a loved one, then I know how grief feels.
While it would make a lousy book to have characters without any troubles, in real life it would be wonderful. But sometimes life flat out sucks. We can’t change that, but when something horrible like a death happens, we can honor that person's memory by making ourselves a little better, letting their mark on the world continue through us, and as Liz mentioned, tell people how you feel while you have the chance.