Rumor has it that an artist's work is always heavily influenced by the artist herself; that no matter what an artist makes, every poem, every painting, every melody and every line of prose is infused with the artist's self.
I've been writing for a long time, and I'm starting to believe this rumor is true.
When I began working on The Dark and Twisty Book, I longed to get away from myself. I was taking a break from editing Lullaby, and it's no secret that while the plot of that book is entirely fictional, it's heavily influenced by real-life people and experiences. Kate isn't me, but some of my readers see a lot of me in her. Part of me is frustrated by that, but the other part feels it's somewhat unavoidable. As artists, we pour our hearts and souls into what we're making. Is it any wonder that pieces of us get left in the things we leave behind?
So I created Melanie, the star of this new story, with the idea that she would be as far from me as Kate was near. First and foremost, I made sure she looks absolutely nothing like me. Melanie is all the things I am never, ever going to be: tall and slender with long blonde hair and big blue eyes, very, very fashionable and worldly, a majorly gifted musician who hardly ever plays, filled with quiet rage and recklessness and surrounded by very few confidants. I even found a couple of muses who inspired me in creating her character, muses who are, once again, not a whole lot like me.
But here's the funny thing about it. I created this character in the hopes of making someone who is nothing like me, and having a great time writing a story about her. But it turns out that's really not even possible. The more I write Melanie, the more I am annoyed to find little, tiny pieces of me (and, let's be honest, sometimes huge chunks of me) creeping into her. I'm starting to think it can't be avoided, that no matter how we try, our art becomes us, at least a little bit. Don't get me wrong - she's still not me, and she's a blast to write. But I'm in there, regardless.
But Melanie is blonde. And I am not. And that's at least a little something.