As a writer, I create a universe. Through nothing but the power of my thoughts, I will this universe to knit together and populate it with people both good and bad.
Not being as benevolent as the good Lord almighty, I do not give these people free will. They do my biding, the bidding of the words I type on my laptop. If they displease me, I’ve been known to kill them off.
In an existence where we cherish the unspoken notion that we retain power over our lives, being a writer can be a safe place where we can truly be in control of the ebb and flow of the universe we chose to surround ourselves with. I think my characters said it best in my novel “The Blood That Binds” where Sara comments on this same topic to Mason, her brother’s boss and her unwanted suitor. Mason starts off by saying …
“I guess I can understand that. I would probably feel the same way if I were you. No one likes to lose their sense of control.”
“Problem is, control is generally an illusion, isn’t it?”
“In reality, what do we really have control over besides the way we react to things. We certainly can’t control what happens to us or the circumstances we find ourselves in most of the time. It’s nice to think we’re the masters of our own fates, but I think God is the one in ultimate control of things down here. My finding out about the Rogers family history is just a glimpse into his bigger picture, and proof that most of what I thought to be truth was just an illusion.”
And so I write …
Life is messy, unpredictable, complicated. When I write my novels, I don’t feel any of that frustration with life. There isn’t a moment where any of my characters aren’t doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. They do by bidding and don’t complain at the water cooler that the boss is a pain in the a$%. In reality, I find my attempts at control to be as effective as herding cats. In this way, I think being a writer is the best therapy I could have to the frustrations of life.
Yet, we like our illusions.
Yes, we all like to think we have some measure of control over the fates, that we are the masters of our own destiny. Is this true? I suspect not. If I toss a bottle into the ocean, where it ends up is the control of the waves, the tide, the current. In the end, the waves, the tide and the current all fall under the will of the gravitational forces of the moon. Who’s will does the moon operate under? God? The universe at large?
Control may be an illusion, but I’m good with that. I think it’s one of the things I love most when my creative juices are flowing and my fingers are typing as fast as my characters are talking in my mind. I lose myself in their world, and yet at the same time I direct their fates with my every whim. Will they live? Will they die? Will the fall in love or have their hearts broken? In the end they think they have control, but little do they realize they live in Jennifer’s world. And Jennifer is not always as benevolent a goddess as they might wish … 🙂
Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.