Friday, February 15, 2008

"Who are you?" said the Caterpillar

"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. "Who are you?"

The quote is from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A wonderful story, brilliantly told to satisfy children and the adults who read them aloud. But there is more to the question than appears on the surface. "Who are you?" and I have to ask myself, "who am I?" Which brings me to why I've chosen to blog about the question.

One of my Vancouver Island Chapter colleagues, multi-published author, E.C.Sheedy, was deeply moved by the book, "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. I purchased the book. It is a deeply moving story. I came across this paragraph and it jumped out at me.

"A birth is not really a beginning. Our lives at the start are not really our own, but only the continuation of someone else's story. Take me, for instance. To look at me now, you would think my birth must have been something special, wouldn't you? Accompanied by strange portents, and attended by witches and fairy godmothers. But no. Not a bit of it. In fact, when I was born I was no more than a sub-plot." (copyright Diane Setterfied) I have never thought of myself as a sub-plot but I like the idea. My life as a strand of a story that started centuries ago.

I pondered the existential question and it led me to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the question the Caterpillar asked Alice. "Who are you?" And that led me to the characters we create and the stories we create to bring them to life. Who is Isabelle Linden whose life story weaves through my books, Isabelle's Diary and Isabelle's Story. Why her? Where did she come from? A sub-plot of her parents and her brother? Of course. Just like you and me, she is woven into her family history.

All our stories have to end and authors choose the time and place to do so. A satisfying story ends with lingering questions. What happens next? For me as long as the ending warms the heart of the reader and leaves them feeling good, I am happy. And, glorious thought ... if readers love the characters and love the secondary characters and want more ... I'd have a series.


1 comment:

The Acolyte said...

Who is One? Disremembering aquired notions of I-dentity, the Buddha points to the illusion of ego... Hi, I'm from The Caterpillar FREE newspaper - (A Visionary Ghetto Tabloid) remixed in Dub - an antidote to normal journalism. It's 4.15am and I'm watching over my newborn baby - who is she? who will she be? Luminous Compassionate Awareness. Greetings from The Caterpillar,Cornwall.