Character

“Unlike even those closest to us in real life – our spouses, our lovers, our kin, whom we can never know completely – fictional people retain only as much privacy and secrecy as those who created them decide to let them keep.”

 - Doug Bauer

Well, there was nothing for it but to pay a call to the Newborn Little Neighbour. It’s always a thrill to meet a brand-new person.

Little H‘s older sister, C, she of the sparkly silver shoes and the Snow-White costume, greeted me at the door in full cry. Being possessed of  three years’ worth of vocabulary (so far as I can tell, she has been talking in full sentences since about Day 4), Little C had much to tell me about Something Special that had occurred, namely the arrival of her baby sister.

Meanwhile, C‘s younger-but-not-smaller sister, S, she of the ballerina costume and trucker’s gait, being possessed of a vocabulary befitting a child who has yet to see 2 years’ existence, trundled around the living room grinning her gappy-toothed grin and telling me in a pleased voice, “baby.”

Then she kissed the baby, a tricky maneuvre that involved wrapping her mouth around the baby’s nose.

Once Little removed her affectionate mouth from the baby’s nose, I was finally afforded a glimpse of Baby H‘s round, smooth face. Perfect cheeks hung in place – truly delicious, excessive cheeks - and her squinty, unfocussed eyes peered beyond me, seemingly to another dimension. We had a few moments of bonding while the older Little Neighbours rushed around saying “baby” to each other, and really, what is more calming than a visit with a newborn? I wondered how quickly this one’s personality would assert itself, especially in the presence of two such characters as her older sisters.

It’s not unlike the birth of a character in a short story or a novel, as over time more and more of the personality reveals itself. At first it’s a mystery, a clean slate. Then the made-up world sort of surrounds the character, or maybe it’s the other way around. Depends. At any rate, it’s an organic emerging of a brand-new person, even if it happens in a fictional world.

I’ve got a few such people sketched on paper, waiting for a second or third draft to really pull them out of themselves. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of them. And it’ll be even more interesting to see what blossoms from Newborn Baby H and her tremendous cheeks.

 

Categories: General.