An Orthogonal Universe Blog welcomes Mara Sanghid, who is the protagonist of An Ember in the Wind and this week’s guest blogger — despite the notable handicap of not really existing.
First of all, let’s get something straight. I exist. Maybe I’m not a person. I don’t have a 401K or a mortgage or a tangible presence in the physical world. But I exist in some form, right? If I do my job right, you connect with me. But let’s talk about that job . . . and why it really, really sucks.
You know that “fear” that some people have — they’ll say they fear we are all living in someone’s dream, and if that person wakes up, then reality as we know it ceases to be? Everyone else looks at that person kinda funny.
That’s my life. If someone puts my book down, then poof, I cease to be. Even now, I’m worried you’ll look away and start browsing pictures of funny things cats do. And it’s like I’m Hoth or Han, or whoever that guy from Star Wars was that was friends with the Alf look-alike. Suspended in literary carbonite — yeah, that’s the life.
But that’s not even what I’m griping about. Okay, it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s not like I’m usually aware of not being. It’s just kind of trippy when one minute I’m outdoors, then blam, I’m indoors, then blam again — I’m being knocked down to the floor by a cat. What would you expect if you lived in a world that could be sold for two bucks in a second-hand store?
There’s just a certain stigma to being a character. Ever hear of “privacy”? Everyone thinks they can read me like a book. It’s off-putting.
Let me tell you something about the writing process. It’s hell. Freaking. Hell. Imagine being born, but conscious enough to realize what’s going on. And all too often, entire pieces of your being are wiped out. Just like that. I still have nightmares about the “backspace” key — or “that button which shall not be named”.
I bet your mother didn’t delete your arms and stick them on your butt because they “seemed to fit better there.”
But that’s the sort of thing that can happen when you’re a slave to the
whims carefully and logically crafted thoughts of a cruel overlord who can revise what you say at random kind and loving author.
I haven’t even gotten to the worst of it. Revision makes my life a nightmare. It’s like being stuck in puberty forever — a teenager constantly changing identities. For all I know, tomorrow I could have sprouted three ears because it improves the “flow”, whatever that means.
And don’t get me started on typos. If you make a typo, you just feel silly . . . maybe even ridiculed by strangers. The horror! But in my world, all hell breaks loose.
Do you have any idea what it was like when the woman next door gave birth to a sun? Of course not. You live in a world that makes “sense”, because you have things like “physics” that aren’t subjected to the whims of Mr. Butter-fingers who had one too many cups of coffee.
“Yeah, I’m talking to you. What are you going to do about it?” asked Dork.
Hey! What — my name isn’t Dork! It’s Dork!
Change it back! Right now! I’m Dork! Dork!
Okay. Fine. I’m sorry.
See what I have to put up with? I’m such a dork.
No! I didn’t say that!