Monday, May 04, 2015

Reflection on completing the A to Z Challenge 2015

It’s been a pleasant month of renewing my friendship (and acquaintanceship - who among us would call Iago our friend, or Richard Parker, for that matter, and live to tell the tale?).

This has my third successful challenge, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

This year’s challenge was rendered more difficult on account of certain self-determined conditions. I decided that given the plethora of characters that are close to my heart, I would ensure that each author or character creator would have only one character on the list. The rule was necessary. Shakespeare alone would have contributed so many to this list.

While I was at it, I tried to ensure that at least a third of the characters were women. With Big Ethel, Hermione Granger, Little Mermaid, Miss Marple, Nancy Drew, Queen Scheherazade, Lt Uhura, and of course, some of the Yahoos and X-men were bound to have been women, I achieved my goal.

Also, I decided that each letter would be exactly 500 words. No more, no less. Given the intensity of the challenge, brevity was essential, as a favour to me and to any readers who might happen to stop by. After a while, I began to enjoy clipping my thoughts, feelings and words to fit the magic number.

The exercise of writing letters to these characters helped me understand the strange alchemy through which a character that is outlined by the author in a few words, or in the case of an illustrator, in a few strokes, begins to take shape and life. And how these characters touch us, appealing to something within us that calls to them, clinging on and never letting go.

I understood why these characters had stayed with me. It was because they were real, three-dimensional people, and occasionally animals, with real motivations and desires.

Many of these characters were people from my childhood, and it was lovely to know that although we don’t meet so often any more, they’re still there in my heart and mind, waiting to pick up from where we left off.

Beyond the 26 I’ve chosen to grace my blog, there are so many other characters that might be holding their breath, waiting for a missive for me. I shall get to you at my leisure, dear friends, in the course of this year. Free of the constraints of the alphabet, you will all have your turn. You have all played a very special role in my life, and my reading and my life has been enhanced, thanks to you.

If there is any regret I have, it is this: that I am never quite prepared with my posts beforehand. This year was no different. I struggled to give voice to my feelings and emotions vis-à-vis these characters, and the struggle took its toll. I couldn’t visit as many blogs as I would have liked to. Next year, I shall remedy that. And that means, thinking of a theme right now. 

Dear Muse, strike me now please.

PS. Incidentally, this post, not including this line, is 500 words short too.


  1. Fantastic posts again! I so enjoyed all of your posts. You put so much time and thought into them and I am always amazed. I am still looking forward to reading your 2013 posts to my grandson when he is older. And then introducing him to some of the characters you talked about this year as he grows older. Thank you so much for blogging and sharing your wisdom with us.

  2. it was a pleasure reading letters to the characters! I guess it was a first of sorts! So many were characters I grew up was nostalgia revisited!

  3. Congrats on finishing your third

  4. Congrats on finishing your third

  5. I think you did a great job. This is my first A-Z, but I'll be back next year to see what you have in store for the next topic. Also, I should like to check in before that time to see your continual blog postings. It was great finding your blog.



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