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As a man, I cannot compare the revelation of a character to the giving of birth.

As a father, however, I can speak of the joy and pain of watching these characters grow up, a piece of myself woven into each one. The seed of the world around me, the people close and far that I have copulated with all engendered in these men and women, boys and girls Рthey are our children. What after all, after death, is the difference between these, my literary, and these, my literal, offspring? Will not both continue on in our memories, written and otherwise, and in our own characters? Much is spoken of physical genetics, and what of narrative genetics? What of those Ivan Fyodorovichs, those Mersaults, those Jos̩ Arcadios that have, in their own way, fused their personalities, their very attributes, with our own? Of character then, I can speak of hope and pride and love.

I can also speak as a voyeur, a curious onlooker into the personal, private struggles of people, real individuals exposed through story for all to read, mock, and lust after. Poor victims towards whom the reader is free of all law and moral to prey upon, vicious judgment and rabid ravish, with absolutely no retribution except, perhaps, its effects on the soul. And yet, in an ironic twist, a voyeur actor, a Peeping Tom puppeteer, with the dangerous power to direct the scenes into which I, the author, am looking in.