Inspiration part III: Characters
One of the things people seem to be interested in (and by "people," we mean the text my father sent me a couple of weeks ago) is how we got the inspiration for our characters in A Simple Thought of Sanity. So, we thought we'd talk about a few of them.
Perhaps the very first character that ever existed, was the Rabbit. An intriguing woman with an intriguing Face, who came from an intriguing place (and that's talking about the real-life inspiration). Now, if you're thinking to yourself, "my goodness, I must have missed something, where is there a rabbit in all of this nonsense?" Don't be alarmed, you haven't missed anything at all. The person we refer to as "the Rabbit" is actually the character of the Mouse-faced-girl in our story. We know, a fantastic and magical literally leap from one rodent to the next. We really are savants in our field.
If you've ever traveled to Tokyo but never set foot in Yoyogi Park, a) you're missing out, and 2) you might see some strange things. The first thing you might see, and our favorite, are the Greasers/Rockabillies who like to dance at the entrance. The second thing you might see is a strange woman in a school uniform wearing a rabbit mask, or at least, that's what we saw. But before we go into that, let's talk about Yoyogi Park.
Just a quick walk from Harajuku Station, this beautifully landscaped wonder is a magnet for dog walkers, artists, jugglers, cosplayers, and other hobbyist groups, as well as little-old-lady-pigeon-lovers. Originally part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics village, a large portion of the complex was given life again as a public park and is one of the larger parks you'll find in Tokyo (which we feel Jane Jacobs would be very proud of).
If you have been to Yoyogi park, you're probably thinking that a woman wearing a Rabbit mask standing in a forest of Ginko trees is the farthest thing from strange you could find there. Of course, you're right, but to us, there was something about the setting and the stillness of her dark little rabbit eyes that sparked... something (as well as the freaky picture we took, which you can find below). Of course, it would take ten years for our Rabbit-faced-girl to come to life, and even then, in the form of a mouse.
And why a Mouse? Well, do we need to say anything more than the intent to avoid the stereotype of tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Parks seem to be a theme in terms of inspiration, and truly what better place is there to sit and observe people.
Because next comes Thomasson. Much of Thomasson's character can be found in our previous post about Hyperart, so no need to dig into that again here. However, there is one very particular man who stood out as the concept for Thomasson, and he too sprung out of a park, not but twenty minutes from our first apartment in Higashinakano (which is in Tokyo).
One day we went out for a walk and had a sit. Simple as that, and there he was. He seemed to be a regular, as we would see him several times after, but there was something about that first time and the picture we took. What an amazing thing the imagination is, to see a person and be able to create a life for them.
What about the character of Brutus? Surely there's something to him, right? Not as much as you might imagine. Or at least not in the sense that he comes from someone in the real world.
Brutus is from those bland, tedious aspects of life. That responsible part of your existence that keeps the bills paid and can't afford the time to think about home. He's part waiting in line, half impostor syndrome, with a dash of cold coffee. Which makes Brutus possibly the most relatable character.
He's kind of a tough one to explain, but perhaps it's better that he's born more from fictitious personalities and elements rather than to be drawn from someone sad, like him.
But we think also, that makes him a great character to experience the world of the City. He represents all those people, where life right now is absolute, and what they might do if they discovered things could be different.
One day while Christopher was at work, he found the book his colleague was reading, "The Hedonists Handbook." Now, a melody of ideas played in his head upon seeing this title.
"Will it teach me how to drink my absinth?"
"What's the best straw to snort cocaine?"
"Maybe which confined space is the best place to be intimate?"
But when Christopher finally opened the book to find out what was inside, it ended up being more tame than he was comfortable with.
This disappointment grew a thought.
What would an author of such a book that Christopher had originally imagined be like? Someone who sampled the world's excesses and had class enough to write them down.
Thus, Lucian stepped into the light.
A character that would be avoided and shunned becomes the guide to a better life or at least a different one.
And like most illicit substance users we've met, he's always willing to share! (And when you think about it, it's quite the admirable trait indeed. Most people won't even offer you a bite of their sandwich.)
Many characters in the third act of the book were inspired by Christopher's time working in Hospice.
They are characters constantly coming and going, with never truly enough time to get to know them. People who had already lived a lifetime, and yet we only step into theirs at the end. People with hopes, regrets, achievements, and unfulfilled ambitions.
It was a privilege to work in Hospice and to have been of some service, even if just for a little bit.
And Shelby, well, she's just Shelby. She's that piece everyone has that just wants to curl up on the sofa and will do anything to stay there.
There's still more we'd love to share, and as we find time, we'll be sure to do so. Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed the experiences which brought about some of our characters.
Though, A Simple Thought of Sanity is much more about who you imagine the characters to be and what resemblances you find in them. So please, if you have an idea of how these characters look or someone who reminds you of them, keep it that way.