I've talked before about how the names in "Lost Convoy" from Monorama came from actual people, most of them ones I knew personally and a few that I came across at the time I was writing it. Earlier in the year I met the real James Ward. Previously he was just a name on a business card. Clive Lockwood, however, I knew personally, although not terribly well.
I was working in a bookstore, and I knew Lockwood as much from phone conversations where he would place orders as when he came in the store itself. He was kind of irritating, but he also had a sense about him of isolation, and that made him somehow endearing, sympathetic. I turned him into a former priest for the purposes of "Lost Convoy," someone who had undergone a crisis of faith.
When I came across Lockwood again, I decided to talk to him, and it wasn't religion he ended up talking about but politics. Turns out I was accurate at least in the sense that he has strong opinions, and he exists in a world that seems to have left him behind. As a writer, it can sometimes be easy to treat real or imagined people as if they're just characters. I try to be better than that in my fiction, but even I fail, and I think I failed Lockwood, no matter how close I was. He exists in "Lost Convoy" one way or another, but the real Clive Lockwood seemed like far less an object of pity, which was something I'd stripped away when I wrote the story but started thinking again when I forgot what he was like when I knew him. I still believe he exists in an isolated world, but more and more I think he wants it exactly that way, no matter how it might seem to others. I'm a lot like that myself, which makes it odd that I didn't recognize that he should be allowed to live that kind of life, too.
I guess the whole point of my writing about him here is that I started judging him. We all judge other people. It's far easier o judge someone when you don't really know them. I still don't particularly know Lockwood, but I know him better now than before. The last time I saw him he was a customer. This time I approached him simply as someone I'd known. Writing for me is about rising above my base instincts. I blurred that line when I wrote "Lost Convoy," thinking I could just play fast and loose with borrowed names. I don't feel any differently about borrowing names now than I did before, but I will certainly think twice about thinking that I can freely interpret those I only think I know. Next time I'll keep the fiction aspect very much in mind.