Inviting My Fictional Characters to Tea

Self-portrait: Sally Wiener Grotta, storyteller“Welcome home, my dear friends. Please sit. Let’s catch up on what’s happened since you were last with me. Rishana and Judith , I’m sure you have a lot to share with each other, but please, not behind my back. Johanna , I suggest that you have a chat with Savah, she might be able to help you. Ryl and Joe, you know where the scones are; please bring them from the kitchen, while we await the others. Now, where were we?”

About a week ago, I was sitting in the glow of the Lag B’Omer bonfire, when Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum asked me what I was doing these days. A loaded question, to be sure, what with the imminent (today!) publication of my novel Jo Joe, awaiting the edit of my next novel The Winter Boy, starting Woof! A Love Story, and researching The Minyan … plus, plus, plus….

No, I don’t believe I’m a workaholic. It’s more that I’m lonely when I don’t have characters living in my mind, telling me their tales, nagging me to craft their stories so that they can live on, not just in my imagination, but between the covers of books that others might read.

In fact, as I explained to Peg, when I finish a story, I have to have another at hand and ready to be worked on the very next day. Otherwise, I go into something of a post partum depression. After the years of living with the people of a novel, they become very real to me, filling my days and dreams with their antics and needs. When the novel is finished, I feel a gaping hole within me where they used to be. I need to fill that vacancy with other people, other stories. Maybe, I’m a storytelling addict. Maybe, I just miss my dear friends.

That’s when Peg suggested that I should invite my fictional characters to tea on the day that Jo Joe is published, to share the celebration with them. So, you will excuse me, please, but I have guests awaiting me. “Oh, hello, AH and Mistral. I’m so glad you could join us. I have missed you.”

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