I’m seldom kept awake by my characters.
My flesh-and-blood children? Sure, they’ve kept me awake in the past. My husband? He has asthma, and tends to snore. (As do I, apparently.) My own personal anxieties? Absolutely.
But my characters? This does not often happen. Certainly not for two hours.
Last night, as I worked on finding a comfortable position, I realized that in small exorcisms Mischa cannot do the same. He is a prisoner, tied down against his will. Whenever my muscles became stiff or sore, I thought about how he must feel in the story, the desperation of body and mind to stretch, to relieve the pain. When I became thirsty, I reached for the bottle of water at my bedside, thinking my thirst was too annoying for me to ignore if I wanted any sleep. He can’t do that in the story either.
Millions of people in real life can’t, either. Slavery and imprisonment are still enormous problems in our society today and around the world. And that realization, and Mischa’s musings on whether or not he is a good person – if, even though he is a priest, if he was truly doing all he could, truly loving his fellow man – is what kept me awake.
As I listened to my creation question his worth as a Christian, and as a person, I started to question myself. What do I do? I do what I can, but is it enough? Can I do more? Can we all?
The answer is simple: Yes, I can. Yes, we can.