Authors often talk about how they get started writing a novel, and at some point, the characters take over and the author becomes nothing more than a scribe who writes what he is told. I experience this every time I start a new character. So who are these people who take over our lives in order to tell their stories. To what extent to they exist separate from the author?
As I said, quantum physics makes life very confusing, or perhaps life is confusing and quantum physics explains it. My heroines in my books are the source of my confusion. Well…Jake doesn’t help either. My heroines do many of the same things I do. We have the same interests. However, I don’t think the difference between Celia and me is in what we do. I am not Celia. She is a different entity with different energy. Well, she has energy. She is energy. When I write or talk about Celia I experience her energy, but when my reader reads about Celia they experience her energy and I have no knowledge of what Celia is up to at that moment. Does the difference between an author and the characters they create arise in the difference between pure energy and mass? I have mass that ties me to time and space. Celia does not have mass, therefore Celia and I will always be separate individuals. Oh dear, and then we get into the relationship between energy and mass.
We, who have mass like to construct ideas of reality. We say this is real and that is not. We’re wrong, but it does make life more comfortable to say those things that I can see are real. Of course this brings up the question of what happens to those things you can’t see. Are they still real? For years I’ve lived and worked with people who have brain damage. When they don’t see something, it doesn’t exist for them. If they don’t see Mom, Mom and her rules no longer exist for them. Perhaps working with people with no concept of conservation of matter has caused me to look at the topic of imagination from a different perspective.
Let’s take England as an example. I live near Seattle. I don’t see England. I’ve been there so I remember being lost in Bath. Yet, my memories of being lost in Bath and of eating the most fantastic scones with clotted cream in a small shop in Canterbury are just energy in my brain. Is England more real than the characters in my stories? Consensus reality insists that England exists, but the England of my memory doesn’t exist. Perhaps if I returned to Bath, I wouldn’t get lost. Is the little shop where we had scones still there? If I understand quantum physics at all, the answer is that no, for me, England is just energy the same as Celia is energy. Both my memories of England and my relationship to Celia are energy. In this sense Jake’s country is just as real as England. Those living in Bath might say the same about Seattle, because for them Seattle is a memory or something they imagine. Even as consensus reality Bath and Seattle are always, always changing.
So, why do I even think about these matters? Well, I find my relationship to my characters curious because I cannot manipulate them at will. Jake may hug me, but he never thinks of me in a romantic light because Celia is the love of his life—his soul mate. I am not Celia. I’m not Maudy. Maudy is a different energy from Celia. This brings me to the horrified and awestruck question of what exactly are we authors doing?!? What energy do we cause to coalesce? Or are we just scribes working to express the energy around us?
Life is so simple without quantum physics, but perhaps we need it to understand our power and responsibility. What are we doing? We manipulate energy to create people and worlds. Others can visit those worlds and interact with the energy we’ve manipulated. Do we create good or evil? There is no question that what we create influences all of existence.