I am a craftsman, an artisan given to the perfecting of my perception of beauty. To me, there is beauty in pain and joy: beauty in love and hate. As a writer I attempt to imbue my characters with essences of real-life emotions and reactions. It’s what I do. I manipulate life to become the testing ground for my stories and to build scenarios in which I can become my character to better write them.
Every writer leaves a piece of themselves in their characters, but some of their best and most favorite characters leave indelible marks on the writer. We take pieces of our imaginary children with us. The work we went to in an attempt to bring our words to life; what great lengths we endured to produce something that transcends words on a page… it caused us to become that idea, that character.
One of my favorite character concepts, (and my oldest), is an assassin. Snaarky and arrogant as the day is long. I created him during a time in life when I needed someone to say the things I wanted but couldn’t, (at least not without getting in trouble). It didn’t take long before I began to exhibit characteristics of this monster I’d created. In personality, I became my own character. This was a dark time of life for me, I was a living terror and a misery to be around.
In order to better write this character, I created confrontations and conflicts in my life to evoke feelings in myself that I could translate into his character arch throughout my story… but the story never ended. I never stopped writing this character, never resolved his conflict-driven nature. And in part I retained a shadow of him in me today. And I fear he may be arising again to wreak havoc on my life like Jekyll and Hyde.
A writer is not a romantic profession or a mild preoccupation for me, it is far beyond that. It has become the very reality of evil and the manifestation of depravity as I breathe the essence of our fallen world through my spirit and into my words. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Just as the prayer in the Bible, recognizing the spirit striving against the flesh in us, the things I would, those I don’t do. The things I wouldn’t do, those are the things I end up doing. It all comes down to surrender. My life cannot be mine and also be honoring to God. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can I fight my fleshly inclinations to be sinful, to manipulate those I love for my own devices, to sacrifice my identity to become something ugly…
God loves me in spite of myself. He knows I’m a sinner and that I fall more often than I should. But He knows I don’t have to fall. The power that lives within me can keep me from falling if I surrender to it. Let the Holy Spirit have his way in your life.
Maybe you’re struggling like me. Maybe you find yourself looking in the mirror at a person you no longer recognize. If you don’t like the person you’ve become, you don’t have to be that person anymore. Give it to God. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Him, you can even right now. We all have problems, Christians, non-Christians, it doesn’t matter; we all mess up. But God offers forgiveness, love, and the strength to get back up again. Now is the perfect time to start over.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist