My upstairs and downstairs books are both a trial to get through at the moment. I am so uninspired I’ve been watching TV, for goodness’ sake. So I pulled out an old favorite, Wuthering Heights, and found a speech near the end by Mr. Heathcliff, describing himself.
“I have neither a fear nor a presentiment, nor a hope of death. Why should I? With my hard constitution and temperate mode of living, and unperilous occupations, I ought to, and probably shall, remain above ground till there is scarcely a black hair on my head. And yet, I cannot continue in this condition! I have to remind myself to breathe–almost to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending back a stiff spring; it is by compulsion that I do the slightest act not prompted by one thought; and by compulsion that I notice anything alive or dead, which is not associated with one universal idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being and faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I’m convinced it will be reached – and soon – because it has devoured my existence; I am swallowed up in the anticipation of its fulfillment.”
— from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, 1847
I love Emily Bronte’s characters for being so extreme. They are not shallow. They are deeply involved in one thing. They allow their emotions to burn steadily and forever. This is inspiration for my own daydreams, my own writing. Leave wishy-washiness behind. Pursue my character’s core and take her to the core’s extreme. Make it devour her existence.