Crumbs and stones

I think about the citizens of fictional worlds I have lived in, how much like real people they disappointed me upon sequel or adult reflection, Atticus Finch a racist? Quentin a bit of a coward? Jem gone when Scout and I both needed him the most.

Dill, who I loved so dang much as a child, turning to the ethically ambiguous lost-boy Truman. And don’t get me started on Holden Caulfield! When I was eight I thought he was a fascinating older brother, at sixteen he seemed a soulful friend, and now he is just JD, impersonating a child, which feels narcissistic and creepy.

So I try to see my own fictional clan. Bits and pieces of them are vivid and quite wonderful. But I could not stand to see them become me with a bit of makeup and shading. I want them to have a life of their own, and be someone my kids would like to hang out with. People who could heal our wounds.

Community. That mirage just beyond reach. We, the children in the woods, making a path of bread when all the stones are gone.