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A couple of days ago I woke to a social media feed filled with messages about what Stan Lee had meant to people from all over. I too added my voice to this. The worlds and characters he gave us spoke to so many and allowed many to realise they aren’t alone, that they can dream and achieve and that they should never let the naysayers have the last say.

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Stan is not the only person to speak to the heart of people. I have just spent another fortnight volunteering at a pop culture convention and it seems to me that society needs its creatives for it is they who can speak to the heart of matters more freely than others can bring themselves to. It is the creatives who nuture hope and dreams in those of us who feel we don’t quite fit in with what  society says is acceptable.

Yes I am fortunate that I have met many actors whose work I admire but ultimately that is not the reason I do the conventions. My reason is family. Not blood family but family none the less.

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My vollie family and regular con attendees have given me a place I feel welcome. I know this is not a feeling that solely belongs to me. Often those of us who feel we don’t quite fit, function just fine in ‘normal life’, we go to work we get on with our lives but at home we hide in worlds that come from other people’s minds. 

Characters show things we go through and this tells us we can’t be the only person struggling or experiencing something. Characters told me it was alright for girls to be smart, to be heard, to fight, to not be limited by what others say is acceptable behaviour, and that it is okay to break the mold. They let me know that perfect is a crock and life is messy but to be embraced in a manner that is true to self.

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I sometimes wonder at the reactions of people when they meet the actors who play their favourite characters because I think surely it is the characters they love not the actors. I’ve never had the same visceral reactions that some fans have. (However I did have a total ‘ OMG that just happened moment’ when I was kissed by the gentleman who voices Optimus Prime – and it was more to do with the gentleman himself rather than me being a fan of the Transformers.) Even though I wonder I sort of understand, because when someone shows you that something is okay for you to feel or be, it is a powerful thing.

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Personally my attachment is to characters rather than anyone who portrays that character. My attachments are a visceral thing; I swear at them, cry and laugh with them or because of them, I draw back into their worlds when I need to comfort myself, I become thoroughly invested in their lives. My goal as a writer is to create characters that other people like, or even better love. When I write it feels as though my characters talk to me. I don’t plan when I write, my characters tell me where they want to go. They are my friends. It seems natural to me that characters have life, they need life to speak to others. I only hope that in the course of putting words to paper that I do them justice.

I hope you’ll buy my books (Becoming and Steps to Destiny) at Amazon, {the links are Au but you can buy they from any region} if you haven’t already, but even if you don’t, do yourself a favour and buy someone’s book, go meet a new character today, you might be surprised at the outcome.

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