It’s been a strange day. Excited about my fresh start, I ran to my computer, plopped down in my new chair and opened a blank document. The cursor blinked happily before me. I put my fingers on the keyboard and stared. And stared. And stared some more. Three weeks, and I was lost. These people — the ones I’d created, the ones I’d lived and breathed for almost two years — were nearly strangers to me. After a brief moment of surprise at the realization, I went back several chapters and began getting to know them all over again. Fifty or so pages later, I finally had enough confidence to move forward.
Like a dinner conversation with someone I went to high school with and then hadn’t seen for ten years — it was awkward. My voices were off. I’d forgotten Res’ penchant for making snide asides. I’d lost track of Quinn’s eagerness to prove himself, the cockiness that belies his uncertainty of his place in the world. I’d gotten out of the stunted rhythm of Not’s voice that stems from her confined knowledge of the outside world. I’d lost touch. But, just like that dinner conversation, little reminders of the old relationships began to creep back in. One-by-one, the light bulbs went off and I remembered all those things I’d worried I’d forgotten.
This sounds a little dramatic (come on, I’m a writer. Dramatic is what I do). I realize it wasn’t like I was gone for ten years and they were happily living their virtual lives without me. I wasn’t Sidney Bristow waking up to find two years had passed (yes, I used an Alias reference). It was only three weeks and my characters were sitting there patiently, waiting. Even so, there was a real sense of disconnect, as if I’d somehow lost control of all I’d created.
Thankfully, that experience was short-lived. After some reminiscing, the uncomfortable silence was filled and new text began to flow. My reunion with my characters was a success. And, you know what? Unlike most of the people I went to high school with, I actually missed them.