Janis Spoke Her Line

It's delightful to have a character surprise the author.

On his Arlo & Janis blog, Jimmy Johnson wrote about creating the March 20 strip: "Finally, with deadline looming and the other five strips in the can, I picked up the strip and, voila, Janis spoke her lines." I just commented that I liked that, but also had these thoughts.

A&J"...voila, Janis spoke her lines...."

I like that. I've dabbled in comics and storytelling. It's delightful to have a character surprise the author. I've had a character who was only intended to be an onlooker suddenly pipe up in a significant way. Or when the key to getting your character home again, previously a vague outline, becomes revealed by the unwinding story.

You know the story and script is unwinding in your brain's circuitry, but while sometimes you're forcing thoughts out with a grunt, there's those times you almost seem to be a pipeline for the Cosmic Mind, the Idea Itself, struggling to be realized in time and space.

I recently finished re-reading the Harry Potter series, and frequently imagined Rowling having similar feelings as she worked on her magnificent opus. Or Tolkien, or Beethoven, or Da Vinci. I recall Rowling saying about the 7th book, she hadn't expected one character's death and found herself crying about it. Nice thing about it, on such points, one can look back and admire a nice turn of phrase or twist of plot with amazement and a kind of reader's delight rather than anything like writer's pride. One can see outtakes of nigh-perfect movies and realize, yeah, that really didn't belong (the Jitterbug dance in Wizard of Oz).

In our minds, we do art. In the Cosmic Mind, art does us.