Why Pippen? by: Invictus

This essay was written as a college application essay.  We were supposed to pick on person (fictional or real) that inspired us to be great.  I chose one of the characters from my novel-in-progress.

I was asked if there was a character in fiction that truly inspired me or changed my way of living.  I thought about it for a while and thumbed through a few books, but still could not find anyone that really made a difference.  In frustration, I turned on my computer and opened a document so I could begin my essay on a different subject, when I hit the wrong button and something opened that I had not expected.  I began to read the story that had appeared before me, as though fate had moved my hand, and found what I had been looking for all along.

He is a mercenary, a teacher, and a good man.   I created him one day so that I could continue on with a book that I am slowly writing one page at a time.  He lingers in the background, important, yet unnoticed by the story line.  I like to think that he is I, the author, watching the happenings of my characters as they struggle through the traps I’ve set for them. I think of him throughout the day, and it makes living here a little more bearable.  When I am angry, I think of his calm mask and feel it wash over me.  I sit back and watch the world unfold before my eyes, and see the things that most people would miss. 

He is scarred, worn and his past is shady to make an understatement, but what draws people to him is that he has really lived.  He’s murdered, plundered, and been a pirate to the core, but he can listen, and really hear what you are telling him, even if you cannot put it into words yourself.  He understands what you are trying to say and he can relate.  His scars give him humility and his past, wisdom.  He is the golden wise man that sleeps in my pocket and the angel that sits on my shoulder. 

I don’t know why I created him that way; maybe I was tired with my life here and needed to find a different place to let my mind wander.  I love him, and I hate him at the same time.  I love him because, through his mind, I can be someone else and I hate him because he never seems to do what I want him to. Some characters are ornery like that; you can have a whole story already written out, and they’ll just go off on their own. The rules or the laws of society do not bind him because he does what he pleases no matter what people think of him. 

I wish I could be more like that.  I wish I could not care what the world says about the way we should act or the way we should exist. Why do they get to decide how I’m going to be happy?  I try --I really do-- to be more like him and not care about what everyone says.  I dress how I want to, impervious to the strange glances that come my way when I walk down the street and I act as though no one is watching me, but in the back of my mind I know that I can never let go of what is demanded of me. I, at least, am still bound by the laws of this world, no matter how hard I try to break free.  

Maybe we all have someone like that.  We may not always find them, but they are there, in our dreams showing us the way with a gently hand and a quiet word.  Some think of them as guardian angels, and others: a spirit guide that brings us through life.  Not everyone can see that small helper, their eyes veiled by the shadows of desperation to find meaning in their existence. But even if you cannot see them, they are there, always guiding.  I found mine in a story that came to me years ago. I found him.

No, he’s not real, but we are the same in spirit.  His name is Pippen, Pippen Stonen, and he is everything that I wish I could be.