Guest Post: Lindsay Marie Miller
Between Twilight and Midnight
Art. For years, I’ve been defining the term as the complete freedom of human expression. No walls. No boundaries. No box to be locked inside of.
Art is an escape, an expression, an un-objective, un-restrictive, un-paralleled path to the unknown and the known, the forgotten and the re-discovered, the could have happened and the never will. Writing is only one faction, one subset, one category of art. But it is the part of that mystical wonderland that I love the most.
Why do I adore words so much? Maybe because they came to me first. I never sought out stories and characters and plotlines. I never asked for all of these voices in my head. Even as a child, the rambling heroines and colorful caricatures chased me in the daytime and hours into the night, spinning so loudly and obnoxiously in my head, willing me to listen, willing me to write.
When I was in grade school, I thought everyone watched a movie in their mind before falling asleep at night. In those hours between twilight and midnight, my imagination would come alive, revealing fantasies, possibilities, and pipe dreams. I never knew that one day, my mind would turn into a battle ground, where characters come dressed in metallic armor, equipped with guns and knives, ready to showcase their strengths and weaknesses or even take each other on, all to prove that their story deserves to be told first.
I won’t lie. All of these characters have spoken to me in different ways, and all of their stories deserve to be told. In many ways, they are my family, these voices in my head. But those that I find the most captivating, most unique, most intriguing will always be told first.
So, I am left shuffling characters around in my head like a general manager selecting players for an athletic team, constantly signing, trading, and cutting. Sometimes, it can feel like a sickness, overpowering my head until it aches. If only I had more time, more pages, more ink to write out every character’s story, who had ever graced me with their presence in my mind.
But there never seems to be enough time, and my pens are always running out of ink. Yet, I cannot let a single character go without at least jotting down a general description. Because each have experienced danger, love, loss, terror, and, ultimately, acceptance.
My characters are just like you and me. They are real people, though not in the literal sense. It is their emotions, their trials, their enduring will, and their own unique, original voice that brings life to their inert state of being. Forrest Gump may only exist within the confines of a fictional realm, but for many, it is his innocence, his Southern drawl, his character, his voice, that allows him to transcend into a state of immortality. Because his story will live on forever. The same goes for Elizabeth Bennet, Atticus Finch, Dorothy Gale, Rocky Balboa, or whoever first allowed you to connect with a force beyond our own natural world.
Characters are important. Characters are real, and characters most definitely matter.
While the physical world around us remains reliant, spinning on its axis with perfectly calculated precision, the fantasy world, where the dreamers go to play, the artists go to create, and all characters live into perpetuity, will always bring color to those who wish to step outside of the box, to view the world as more than a round planet, floating in the Milky Way, and to remind all of us that every character counts.
In art. In fiction. In life.
So, to answer my earlier question - why do I adore words so much?
Because of you.