Today I thought I was Ella. I thought I was a young, naive girl in love. But I’m not. I’m not Ella, I’m her author. I created her.
Yet she is me.
Ella is me but so is Anna and Harry and Robert and Jed and George – all of them are me. They are facets of me. They are also facets of others. How can I write them without embodying them? Without seeing the world through their eyes? My head is a muddle of me and the past, present and future of characters that are not me. Not only their lives, but also their emotions, desires, needs, wants.
Yet how to find me among it all? How to find Koraly. Where is she? Who is she? Oh, the novel will be grand, and powerful, and explore themes unexplored in Australian literature, but where does that leave me? Not Ella – Koraly. Someone told me it’s the experiences that pain us most, the ones that drain our souls and refill us changed; it is those experiences that create the best stories, the stories that affect people, the stories that resonate.
But what about Koraly?
Each draft drags me into the thick of story, yet who will emerge? Who will emerge from the pages when the last sentence has been written, the last word typed?
Am I supposed to talk about this? Reveal this? Am I the only writer like this? If not, than how do we, as writers, rise above our stories, grasp our identities, differentiate ourselves from our characters?