Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

Stealing Lives

Twenty year later, my mother, my sister and I sat in my sister's girlhood bedroom, talking about a novel I had written. "I don't care," Franchelle was saying. "She'd better never put me in a novel again. I don't like being frozen in print for the rest of my life, forever wearing those silly panties and short skirts; and I'm not big like that, she's made me into some sort of amazon-freak."

"Darling," our mother said, "the sister in The Odd Woman wasn't you. Gail just took parts of you, the parts she needed. Writers work that way."

"Well, I wouldn't know. I'm a lawyer and they don't work that way. Besides, it hurts."

Tears filled her eyes and she ran from the room.

"It's unfair," I said, "She's being unfair by not trying to understand."

"It's difficult when you haven't written," agreed my mother. "Now I understood why you had to make Kitty a more passive mother than I am, also a little stupid; that was necessary to your overall plan . . ."

"Passive! Stupid! Kitty? Kitty was a beautiful character. I worked hard on Kitty."

"She was a lovely character," my mother said. "I thought she was awfully well done. But what I mean is, I knew she wasn't supposed to be me."

"But she was!"

"Well, there was something left out, then."


Gail Godwin, The Writer on Her Work.

Comments:
"But what I mean is, I knew she wasn't supposed to be me."

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I, I, I.
 
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