The basic miracle of Callahan's Place, the greatest lesson this joint has taught us (is) that there's nothing in the human heart or mind, no place no matter how twisted or secret, that can't be endured--if you have someone to share it with. That's what this place is all about: helping people to open up whatever cabinets in their heads holds their most dangerous secrets, and let 'em out. If you've got a hurt and I've got a hurt and we share 'em, some-crazy-how or other we each end up with less than half a hurt apiece.
(Excerpt from Spider Robinson's CALLAHAN AND COMPANY: The Complete Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon.)
I remember, especially during my teenage years, the feeling that the characters in the books I read truly understood me. Yeah, my friends 'got me', but I could really be myself with the characters in the books by Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Robert Heinlein, Madeleine L'Engle, Lucy Maud Montgomery and yes, even Stephen King. (Especially Stephen King? I have yet to be convinced that the people who populate his books don't exist somewhere.) Those characters rode the highs and lows with me, and some-crazy-how, they Knew Me.
If my Crosstime Saloon existed, it would be populated by imaginary and real characters alike. Anne would sit next to Kelsen, who would hang with Meg and they would all buy a round for my flesh and blood friends.
Do characters live on with you after you turn the last page? Who would populate your Crosstime Saloon?