Accustomed to His Grace
A few years ago, to my terror and heartache, I suddenly lost touch with Jim for a while. Now, no matter what Doorzoid idiots think, he has NOT reincarnated, because, if you must know, he's waiting for me, like Morric in the Otherland. So I knew it wasn't that.
But since for the past three decades I've been continuously living with and in his presence, being able to reach out with my astral hand and touch him, as it were, I was scared to, well, death that I'd lost him. There had been a major psychic attack back in the mid-90's when I was forcibly put out of touch---people wanting to get at him who knew they'd have to put me out of action first (they got smacked so hard their ears are probably still ringing)---and I feared this again, though it didn't feel the same at all and so I figured it wasn't a repeat. (Oh, and don't go getting any ideas, folk of ill intent! I crushed them like a bug, with the help of warrior friends, and I can do it again, even more crushingly, now.)
So I went running for help to my dear friend Phyllis Curott, who's one of the most powerful and wise Witches around, and after checking it out, she had some very interesting things to tell me.
We all have a daimon (kind of like in "The Golden Compass", only we have human ones) of the opposite gender: that whole yin-yang trip. It's us, but it's also other. And our daimon can take different shapes at different times: according to Phyllis, Jim of course was both my mate and my daimon, and still is, and always will be, and that was fine and correct. She said that women who live between the worlds, as Witches do, are looking for/being with the daimon, the spirit-mate that is part of them and also part of the mate they choose in the world. Shamans and shamanesses know all about it, and Phyllis writes about it in her third book.
At that time I had been heavily into the original shaping of two male protagonists: Turk Wayland, superstar guitar hero, in the Rennie books, and Guthrum the Dane (Viking ruler in England, circa late 9th century), for my Viking novel "Son of the Northern Star". Very appealing, very attractive characters, both tall, handsome blonds.
And Jim was jealous, apparently thinking I was falling in love with them. Which, of course, I was, since I fall in love with ALL my characters, regardless of gender. I can't help it: it's how I write.
The thing is, Jim, or at least his daimon form, was both those guys. Turk and Guthrum aren't Jim, not even close, but in a strange kind of way Jim is them. I was working off that daimon in different aspects, but it was still the same.
Because the daimon can shift his shape, mine was moving around, as I needed him to, and I was finding him in different forms: which is what I was supposed to do. Jim, being the alpha and omega, the dominant form, the one I chose in life and death, was jealous, but I was really just finding aspects of him in characters, vehicles of my own creation but somehow animated, on this level anyway, by him.
I think I've blogged about this before, but it got especially complicated when Turk started writing songs...as you can imagine. Jim and I had written a couple of songs together, back in the day, but I'd never really felt I could, or even wanted to, write my own. I'm not much of a musician, though I like to think of myself as quite musical, and I can't sing terrifically well: songwriting had never seemed like anything I'd find myself doing.
But then Turk started pushing for lines of songs in the concert scenes in the Rennie books. So, always happy to oblige one of my characters, I supplied a few. And then he started pushing for complete songs. And man, did he know how to push: I couldn't write anything else until I wrote a few songs.
And now I have about FIFTY, forty of which are complete (with melodies even, albeit only in my head; but I can sing them well enough for a pro to make something of, and perhaps one day someone will). So...since it wasn't really me...was it Turk or was it Jim? The songs are NOTHING like Doors songs...and COMPLETELY like Lionheart songs...so who knows? They come from a very different place than the books do. And does it matter?
I say it was the daimon, in collaboration with me, and that is the honest truth. I was lucky enough and blessed enough to have found my daimon in life, in this world, where many never find him at all...
Once all that got sorted out, Jim was back, immediately, strong and present and loving as ever; the room was full of him again. But the whole episode did make me wonder where writers go to get their characters.
I, for one, don't sit down and make a little list: "Ohhkay, I need a strong female protagonist, and a male protagonist to match and balance her, and a bad pair to go against them both but they can't be ALL bad, and some strong/weak supporting characters, and someone with whom the readers can identify..." That may be the format as it manifests, but at start-up it doesn't work like that. It's much more ORGANIC than that.
The best I can say is that I find them. Or they find me. They seem to come from nowhere, but I know that's soooo not true. They come from somewhere very definite indeed. And they never fail to come as and when needed (touch wood). It's as if the story knows what it requires better than I do, which I'm quite sure it does, and if I trust in that enough, it'll give me what I need to make it happen.
I don't generally think about this kind of thing often, because I'm afraid I'll get too conscious of the process, if process it is, and not be able to DO it as easily. So I'm just grateful that the characters consent to come at all.
And Jim, honey, you have absolutely nothing to be jealous about. It's all you. Besides, I don't really go for blonds.