Writing to and in the voices of fictional characters

writing to characters

       I’ve written to fictional characters for many years; sometimes, I get replies.  When very young, I used to write to Anne Frank to offer comfort, to seek comfort, to wish she had lived.  Imagine what she could have written, what she could have become as an adult. I wrote to her when I was very young, before I really understood her history.  I wrote to her as if she were a character in a book, and I just loved her.

I have written in characters’ voices to other characters, in the form of ekphrastic poems.

I have written poetry in the voices of Levin from Anna Karenina, of Macduff from Macbeth, of Simon from Lord of the Flies.  I have written in the voice of Lucy Gayheart in Willa Cather’s fine novel of the same name.  To characters in the novels of Thomas Wolfe–o, lost!  To characters in the amazing novels of John Steinbeck.  To characters in those many young adult novels I read when a teen–I wanted to tell them I understood.

Do many others do this?  It seems such an incredible thing to me when a writer creates characters that truly speak to me; they help me grow as a person.  They help me empathize, see things from other points of views.

From one mind to another, across the years and the miles? That’s such an amazing gift of literacy.  Literacy means we don’t have to be confined to one place and time, and that is a priceless gift.