The choices we make, trials we face, experiences we have, people we meet, the countries and families in which we are born, even our innate dispositions tug at us throughout our lives, molding us into the people that we become. As we age, our forms become less malleable, but we continue to change. Sometimes, a sudden tragedy alters us. However, usually, like water on rock, the transformations are incremental, only noticed by old friends that haven’t seen us in years.
As I wrote the back stories for Paul, his parents and friends, it occurred to me how complex people are, even fictional ones. If Paul did what he is accused of doing, how does that affect his old high school girlfriend and her family? If Paul’s former supervisor grants Janelle an interview, would that impact his future with the company? Even Paul doesn’t live in a vacuum. And what of Janelle? How will writing Paul’s story and knowing the impact it will have on so many lives permanently affect her?
Paul and those associated with him are fictitious, but the impact that each of us has on those who pass through our lives is real. We have the power to hurt or heal, intentionally or not. It’s an awesome power. We must use it with care.