letting Toby go

Bruno Schulz, inspiration for my character Tobias Rey

I don’t want to write the end of this story.

Funny, isn’t it? Tobias Rey is a fictional character. I have devised for him a portfolio of artwork, a wry sense of humor, a free and easy sexuality, a fiancee, a martyred family, a collection of stories I had to actually write. And he must die; there’s no way around it, the whole point of the story is how my SS man, Max Haas, reacts to the murder of one person he cares about, when he has coldly presided over the deaths of so many anonymous thousands.

But I can’t bear to move on to the next passage. Of course, I’ve recited the words to myself over and over again; I know how it happens, and when, and where, and who does it, and what happens afterward. When you create a character, he is alive inside your head. You know how he will react to any given situation, you know what he will say, you know what he looks like when he’s saying it. In a curious way, he lives.

I know Toby is fictional. But I still find myself doing anything else–(Facebook, Goodreads, anybody? Fourth grade homework? Doctor’s appointments? Ooh, what did that funny guy on Pimp My Novel write today?)–to avoid writing the inevitable ending. Today, for instance, I am writing this blog entry.

There’s still polishing to do. I removed a fictional story-within-the-story, and substituted another one that was less transparently allegorical. Also, in this scene, Toby needs something more to do than smoke a cigarette and stare out the window, so I’ll spend some time doodling around with mannerisms and physical gestures. I tell myself that the next pages deserve a big block of time, not the twenty-minute or one-hour bites I have available to me right now.

Maybe tomorrow.

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