Okay I'm having a moment. I just finished watching Neil Gaiman's speech at some graduation.
All I really know how to do is read, write, or try to in some other fashion to express my understanding of something. I can be terribly clever when I'm writing, and in reality I'm kind of dense. That's alright. In an actual conversation I'm difficult, usually at least a little insulting, and hard to empathize with. That's okay too. I never have enjoyed people, I'm too suspicious. When I'm writing, I'm a completely different person. Or in very rare cases, if people will just shut up and listen to me, then I can say what I need to say. I suppose that makes me an egotist or something. Who cares? Nobody ever really listens when people talk, they are after all, only waiting for their turn to talk. When you write on the other hand, and write well, people have to listen. When people hear others speak, they are really only hearing what they want to. The rest is discarded and forgotten.
When I'm writing I feel as if I can command a spectacular symphony and the audience is waiting breathless. It's really the only time I feel as though I am truly myself. And who really gives a damn what anyone else thinks when you are enthralled with creating something? Not I, sir, not I. Painting is agony. It's awful, but necessary. I paint when I need to purge. Writing is an adventure. I lost interest in writing for a long time, because every time anyone read anything I wrote they told me how wonderful I was. I got bored with positive feedback. Writing is wonderful though, even when I'm dredging the black hole and laying out all the horrible and painful experiences for the blood-thirsty mob. It gives me a clearer understanding of my subject. When I write, I have to dissect my subject, my opinions and feelings on my subject, and try to express my understanding of the truth of my subject. When I paint on the other hand, I deal with too many abstract concepts and whims to gain much understanding from my painting. When I write, I feel as though it is less necessary to purge, so I don't paint as much.
Since no one has ever read my first almost complete novel, I'll tell you and you will have to take my word for it. My main character is a wonderfully simple creature, who is full of anger and an itch to prove herself. She's seriously a bitch, who is used to having everything her own way, and is will to kick as many asses as necessary to ensure she continues to get her way. It is impossible for her to fail, because she has an enormous strength of will that often awes people. Sound familiar? She's the part of myself who had to survive under extremely unusual circumstances. I prettied her up a bit for the novel. She doesn't hold grudges the way I do, and lives very much in the now.
I've started my second novel, once I finished the first draft of the first. I have a new main character in the same world as the first. This character is a very tragic person. She's afraid or intimidated quite often, she's been through hell. She's uneducated, ignorant, and very rough around the edges. She is unflaggingly polite, and often a bit simple and strangely wise, but she carries on doing what needs to be done. She's a part of me also. The part who never fit in, that people hardly ever understand and always underestimate. She's a bit more mysterious than my first main character.
I adore my characters, and have a running biography on them in my head. I know everything there is to know about them, and I let them drive the plot. It's a way of letting all the various pieces of myself express themselves.