On Wednesday nights, I play Guild Wars 2 with a dear friend of mine. As we play, our conversation may shift from the game to deep topics about our lives, our writing projects, our thoughts on reality and why things are the way they are.
One night I spoke to her about my Audir and Kenidra story. This story has been with me a long time. I first came across the characters when I sat down to write a story about amnesia in fifth grade. The names of these characters have changed greatly since that day in fifth grade. Audir started as Andrea and then became Audrey, until I finally settled on the current iteration of her name. Kenidra started as Kendra, though I had to alter it once I’d finally finished the basics of their native language.
These characters have been a constant companion in my literary explorations. In high school, I sat down and wrote their story for the first time. A theme developed in that tale, one I didn’t know quite how to handle: a theme of abuse and how wrong that abuse was and how they overcame that abuse.
This would become the theme for their tale in its many iterations. Kenidra would be the abused one, the one that had been severely hurt and betrayed by someone she loved and thought was safe. Audir would be the one to help her heal, help her move past it. In my high school version of their tale, I had their story of abuse and healing from abuse set on the backdrop of a larger space opera: them seeking Kenidra’s missing mother and fighting against a deadly menace, where in the end they save their home from invasion. It was grandiose, but the true bulk of the story lay in Kenidra and Audir’s relationship.
I rewrote this story in college. The deadly menace became scientists, where one sought a peaceful exploratory project and the other turned it into a weapon of destruction. Yet even then, the tale of abuse and healing still lay side by side with this other theme of how technology can be abused.
Now I sit down to rewrite their tale yet again. The themes in their stories mirror some of the themes in my own life. I think this is why I find that I cannot quite give up on these characters, despite how challenging it is to write their story. One friend called this tale my white whale. In a way it is because of how closely the two characters are linked with my own life. What they represent is some of the hardships I’ve faced, and how they conquer it is my way of healing from those hardships.
Sometimes the only way to heal is to tackle it through stories. To explore it through metaphor and simile, where every word I write and every sentence I construct is me walking through the pain of my past and letting it all flow out of me. Flow onto the screen, where in those characters I face my worst fears and then I pass through them. Maybe the story won’t be worth much to others, and maybe they may not see the value in it like I do, or maybe it’ll help them heal from their own past. I don’t know. All I know is that I need to have the courage to finish this tale. To finally just finish this tale and then let it go.
This leads me, of course, to the biggest question of all.
Why do I write?
When I write a story, a piece of me falls into it. I often don’t write it with a theme in mind, but it’s always there. It’s always present to some degree. Sometimes I go back to shape and mold it. Sometimes I just let it be as it is. I’ve been writing since I was a young child, and although I’ve had periods where writer’s block stalled my writing, I always came back to it because it is the one force in my life that makes sense. It is my life blood. It is how I process my experiences, the horrors in our society, and seek healing and answers. It’s when I stop writing that I know something is wrong. That I need to tackle an issue and pass through it, so I can continue to write. Continue to be there for the people I love, and continue to try to build a better and more accepting and more loving future for all of us. I know I’m just one person, but with each word I type, I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe it’ll make a difference in someone’s life.