Why I believe in my characters

I believe we all should be happy.

I never know whether to laugh or cry when someone tells me ‘happiness is for dummies’, or ‘all of us here are happy people’, or ‘I’m a perfectly happy person’. I seldom believe them. I think these people are really desperate to scream how unhappy they are and find it impossible to do, so they twist it in their heads and try to sell it to us as exactly the opposite of what they’re feeling.

I believe happiness is possible and desirable. I believe most people are not happy. And there is no ‘perfect happiness’. I believe happiness is sleeping well and peacefully. I believe happiness is waking up eager to face the day. I believe happiness is, paraphrasing Kipling, to ‘meet Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.’

But happiness depends on something else. It depends on purpose. It depends on finding our meaning of life. Because if we find our particular meaning of life, and if we are able to work towards our goals, and there are people around us we can trust and we have confidence in ourselves, then we can be happy. It’s so simple it’s almost corny. It’s so simple it’s almost wrong. Because the reality is: none of these things is easy. It’s not easy to find our meaning, it’s not easy to really trust in people, it’s not easy to be confident and secure.

And that’s why I believe in my characters. My protagonists are my personal heroes. Most of them will feel at a total loss at one moment or other. Not because of the odds they are facing, not because of the enemies that want to destroy them, but because they are pitched against the void of having no meaning in their lives. Alex 9, a warrior from the future, an orphan unable to have children who’s been raised by a corporation, is looking for a mission bigger than her; Byllard Iddo, a Space Naval Officer in a distant solar system who accidentally killed his father, is trying to be accepted by a new family, the Navy; J.J.Berger, a Spec-ops operative in a devastated Earth, is trying to understand his place in a post-apocalyptic world.

On the other hand, as they pick their short-term goals, they are getting closer to their long-term goals. And they manage to overcome obstacle after obstacle, not only because they have confidence in themselves, but also because they are helped by the people they trust.

Someone said that ‘this thing of being a person is a rather complicated affair’. Yes it is. But that’s why it’s worth it to write fiction. ‘Complicated’ is the realm of fiction, not of theory. I hope my characters are real enough to you, as they are to me.  And I hope we all learn from them. This blog is an attempt to reflect on that.

I’m calling this new blog Hyperjumping. Not only because I want you to jump with my characters to other galaxies and other places in Space and Time, but because I also want to jump with you towards new ideas and perspectives. I hope you accept the challenge.

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