“What is now proved was once only imagined.” William Blake
Visionary and artist, it’s not surprising that our boy Blake penned such a line. And how aptly it captures the conjuring that we do as writers!
Just think of all the wonderful imaginary characters that intrepid writers have summoned from the ether—characters who once were only imagined, but are now part of our literary and mental landscape.
Think of the immortal Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, an immortal tale which Charles Dickens wrote in six weeks! What a reprobate Scrooge is—how we despise his greed and rejoice in his redemption!
Think of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights: strong, long-suffering, wracked by love and revenge. Who can forget Emily Bronte’s timeless creation, wandering alone on the heath—lost, betrayed, and tortured?
Think of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Margaret Mitchell may have conjured up an idealized, politically incorrect vision of the South during and after the Civil War, it’s true. But even so, Scarlett’s spunk and relentless drive live on.
And what about Mrs. Dalloway? Floating through her day on a stream of consciousness that captivates and confuses, through her artful writing, Virginia Woolf gives us a glimpse into that ever-uncharted territory, a woman’s heart.
Then there’s Holden Caulfield, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina—I could go on and on—and so could you, I’m sure, conjuring up characters who once existed only in the minds of their creators.
Just think of it! All these characters were called into being. And if this is true for fiction, it’s also true for nonfiction as well. In biographies and memoirs, through authors’ artful writing, we catch sight of people’s dreams and drives in ways that sometimes reinvent them for us.
What a gift: To take a time and place, people and events, that were once only imagined and breathe life into them for our readers! Write on!
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