Waking up one morning and realising I was a fictional character in someone else’s book might have been difficult to take. But, instead, I chose to view it (or, my creator chose for me to view it) as liberation.
I could no longer stand reading about the characters upon whom I was based: the picaresque creations of Miguel Cervantes, Henry Miller and so forth, without acknowledging that I was a partly plagiarised archetype undergoing the requisite low level of character development that all my kind are condemned to.
But, I was happy to recognise that us Picaros are blessed with an uncanny sense of survival and an ability to understand society without ever having to invest in it personally. This seemed like a reasonable trade off when pitched against the fact that I don’t actually exist, other than in the minds of those I befriend, love, hate or deceive.
I wondered all day what else being a Piccaresque creation implied for my prospects of success in life, but recognising that my moral standards were likely to remain, at worst, guttural and, at best, relativist, and that I was absolutely destined to remain on the fringes of society by choice as much as personal failure, the question was rendered irrelevant.
I thought about how I had done much in life so far whilst managing to achieve demonstrably little. I had convinced myself that I was in love a hundred times with the least and most eligible of women, but failed to assimilate a life acceptable to both parties. I had ardently criticised the society I felt marginalised by without stopping to consider how much my marginalisation afforded me in intellectual freedom. Yet I had survived, prospered even, on my wits alone. And it could rarely be said that I had suffered at the hands of anyone but myself. How picaresque.
It seemed that accepting my destiny as preordained by the hand of my creator was an ostensibly religious epiphany. But it was not classically so. I did not believe in any higher force controlling the destiny of all mankind. I merely believed that there was a higher force controlling the narrative of my existence. I did not feel that my creator was some great unifying force. I simply felt that I was a conduit for their feelings on a society to which he or she, perhaps uncomfortably belonged. And, if this were true, he or she had likely created someone who did not share his or her sense of impotence. In fact, I was the essence of their power- their release, their catharsis. Therefore, it was impossible to say whether or not my creator or I was the “higher” force and there was nothing classical about this.
How novel, in a world of prescriptive belief, that one should feel empowered by being the created, rather than the creator. How empowering the sense that one’s destiny was someone else’s concern, but that it would be cared for in such a way that the created should not feel any fear of the future.
But there was one problem. Such epiphanies are uncharacteristic of us Picaros. Such understanding of our place in the world is not the mainstay of the archetype. Self awareness is not our forte. This could only mean one thing: that I am wrong about all of this. I was so convinced this morning that I wasn’t real but that very realisation seems to have convinced me otherwise. It turns out I must be real after all, unless this day of existentialist reflection was merely a departure on the part of my creator into some other literary sphere of which they have only a basic understanding. So, if I am real, this epiphany was rather useless. And if I’m not, my narrative seems to be getting a little muddled.