Verisimilitude is death. Every writer knows that. Any and all attempts to make a fictional character, place, or event true to any kind of an original guarantees the failure of the work. The truth is best expressed in stretchers, and no writer worth her salt can do it any other way.
But sometimes life falls at your feet so pre-stretched and warped that you don’t need to touch it. So broken and fragile that you fear too much handling will tear it apart. If you have the presence-of-mind to cup it in your hands, or the artist’s hardness of heart to make a note and file it under ‘material’, you do, but so often you don’t. It slips through your fingers, too beautiful (or something) to live. But it marks you, changes you.
There is a character who haunts my work, a flesh-and-blood person, as unviable in life as he lingers beyond it. Like a monster. There has been a film made about him, which I won’t watch until after I’ve written this piece, until after I’ve exorcised the memory, tried to work out for myself why Richard Blackie just won’t die. And I may even decide to visit his grave. One day.