Writing Finding Vivvie’s Shoes is a big undertaking for me.
Many people will or will think they see several autobiographical elements in the book, and that’s a risky business. I will say it now and probably again, while I drew heavily on circumstantial elements – eg, I’m the youngest of 5 sisters, our mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I’m a writer – that is pretty much where it stops. I did, with their consent, put a few friends and acquaintances in the book in the form of individual characters. Mostly I took things like personality or mannerisms and occupations. The thoughts of all my characters belong to them alone, not the people who inspired them. And of course, there’s twins in the book.
I’ve always been fascinated by twins. My grandmother was a twin, and currently there are 3 sets of twins in the family. 1 set is – are? – our own twin daughters. So, I tend to take opportunity to put twins in my books. If some future student were to do some kind of analytical critique of my body of work, the presence of twins in it would no doubt command its own section. Unfortunately for the budding analyst intent on deciphering my work, it’s only the case because I think twins are neat.
And overall, the only real reason for any of my real life and experiences to creep into my work – pardon me, inform my work, is that it is inevitable. We write what means something to us, and we draw on the familiar to create the strange. We begin with where we are and move out to explore the new territory our imagination seeks.
The interesting thing to me, is that when I re-read this manuscript for the sake of editing, I can’t always tell where the pieces of the real person leave off and the new character begins. As a writer, I’m glad. That’s how it should be. I just hope it doesn’t mess with my interactions with my sisters!