notquiteold

Nancy Roman

There’s No Escaping Me

About a month ago, I stumbled upon a quote by one of my favorite authors. It resonated with me, and I posted it on my Facebook author page:

annetylerquote

Yes. Yes.  This is not only why I read – it is also why I write.

I love taking myself to another world and living an alternative life.  I can be someone else.

After I saw this quote, I remembered that about six months earlier I had written a poem about living a different life through my characters.

Now you are probably thinking: Oh crap. Nancy is going to subject me to POETRY.

Well, yeah, I am.  But it’s short and it’s also easy to tell where the poem ends, so if you are worried that it will give you a migraine or hemorrhoids or something, just scroll right down to where you see I’m writing the ‘normal’ way again.

NOVEL WRITING

The pleasure
of inventing a person
is that you get to be
her for a time
and she may be
nothing like you
so you get to be
nothing like you
oh sure
she’s in your head
so she shares
your philosophy
but she’s taller
and younger
with a cooler name
like Willow
like Mercedes
lovelier
not smarter
she could never be smarter
she could be braver
and being
her for a time
you could kiss
more boys
in high school

#

All done. You survived. But here’s the thing:  Although I think I am able to become another person in my writing, I have just had the revelation that I’m not.

I can live a different life, but I cannot be (at least not yet) a different person.

Last weekend I was participating in a book sale/author signing and once again, a customer thought the photo on the cover of my book was me. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened – and the person is STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  Looking at me and my book. And thinking that the woman is me!

I explain good-naturedly that no, the cover photo is just a representation of the main character in the story.

And the person always says, “But it looks just like you.”

Well, no.  I’m flattered of course, as I chose a very pretty woman for my cover.

She happens to be blonde. But I think the similarity ends right there.

JustWhatIAlwaysWanted2500x1563 (1)

me selling books rev

Me selling the book that does not have me on the cover.

But I realized that I am talking PHYSICAL similarity. Because looking back over the fiction I have written to date, I see now that all the characters are me.

I may think I am creating a new life for myself, but I am only creating new situations for myself.

So far, I have written a novel, the beginnings of a second novel, a novella (not published, but I’m thinking about it) and dozens of short stories.

And I see that every protagonist has my personality.

I even wrote a story about a guy, and HE was like me. And his wife was like me. And of course she was very happy to be married to a man who was so clever.

I think I need to try fiction that’s really fiction.

I should see if I could invent a person who doesn’t resemble yours truly. She could be voluptuous and religious and serious and politically conservative. Or he could. (except the voluptuous part.)

Do I want to?

Nah.

I want to live the lives of the people I invent. And I’m going there with me intact.

What fun would it be to have all those adventures if it’s not me?

Me. And Cynthia, Aggie, Liz, Lucinda, Jackie - and David.

Me. And Cynthia, Aggie, Liz, Lucinda, Jackie – and David.

You can buy my book here. You can compare for yourself the cover photo with my photo on the back. Let me know. Did I unconsciously pick a cover shot that looks like me?

34 Comments

  1. Yep. In my opinion you did. A somewhat younger, idealised version, for sure … but she’s you!

    Like

    • I didn’t think this woman looked a thing like me. I thought she looked like someone I would LIKE to look like. So perhaps she is me – only better. (and younger for sure!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this point of view. I know my main characters are slices of me, but they act in ways I can’t. They also time travel — one went back in time (twice!) and another transported through the Veil to a similar world. They go places I cannot — they love and go on adventures I can only imagine. So I do. And I love every minute of it.

    Like

    • Yes, I love being able to do things I’ve never done. And you know what else I love – I love having all those extra friends!

      Like

  3. When I first saw your book cover, I thought it was a picture of you with curly hair. Truly. In fact, I re-read to see if it was memoir. Did I say truly?

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    • Truly. You said truly. And a few people think that large parts are true – truly true. Even my husband. I had to reassure him that it just SEEMS true because I am such a good writer! (Seriously, though, the one person who knew that none of it was true was my mother. She loved the book, and she impressed that I could make that all up in my head.)

      Like

  4. There were parts of you in the protagonist in your book — I especially remember smiling at the fact that she can’t parallel park. But I think all characters represent the different facets of their personalities — the villains the dark side, etc.

    I think that the woman on the cover looks like folks who’ve read it imagine you look — and so you do. It’s the power of suggestion!

    Like

    • You’re right! All of my characters are a little bit of me – or different sides of me. And they say to write what you know – and I can’t even imagine what it’s like to parallel park!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know if I could ever NOT be me in my writing. And thank you for making such a compelling case for that being okay. It definitely works for you, Nancy. Your novel is wonderful. 🙂

    Like

    • The best thing is there is no limit to what I can do, try, say or feel. And Thanks – I am so glad you liked my book.

      Like

  6. Nancy – I thoroughly enjoyed your novel, thank you. And I totally agree about being someone else for a short time but always being oneself.
    And may I please use the photograph at the top of this post. It says it all for me. Thanks. J:)

    Like

    • I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my book! Feel free to use the photo – it’s not mine anyway!

      Like

  7. You are hilarious. Of course that’s a picture of you on the cover. You can’t fool me. 😀 😀 ❤

    Like

  8. I’m so impressed that you have stayed dedicated to your writing and accomplished so much. I finally finished a short story last week. I have several things started, but I seldom finish anything. Um…change that to never. You are inspiring.

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    • The solution is: Just keep going. Anne Lamott says it perfectly okay to write a shitty first draft. At least you have a first draft.

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      • Haha, Nancy. How many times did I tell my students that? Of course I had to leave out “shitty.” By the way, I just bought the Kindle edition of your book. I recently started another book, so when I’m finished, I’ll read yours. Looking forward to it!

        Like

        • THANKS! I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, I’d love it if you would post a nice review on Amazon. Reviews are crucial to marketing on Amazon.

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          • I panic when I’m asked to post a review because I don’t know how to word it. But I will give it a try.

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          • Oh no! Don’t do it if you are not comfortable…. I’d never ask that! Just enjoy!

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          • Hey, I need to try it. After all, I may need you to do it for me some day, if I ever finish something big.

            Like

  9. Christine

    I’m in the minority, but I don’t think the cover looks like you at all, except maybe the nose. You are as pretty as she is, but different.

    Like

    • I really don’t think so either. I think it vaguely resembles my boss’s wife – who I think is gorgeous. But not me. I look too much like Dad.

      Like

    • Are you Christine in Los Angeles, my sister?

      Like

  10. Dana

    I totally thought that was you, too!

    Like

    • You are certainly not the only one… but I never saw it.

      Like

  11. There’s something about her eyes – like yours…besides, eyes are the feature most people look at anyway. With writing you get to try on a character like trying on a coat or hat. An accessory or embellishment perhaps?

    Like

    • Maybe unconsciously I was just comfortable with this woman – without understanding that the overall similarity in features was why I was so comfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love, love the poem, especially the part about kissing more boys in high school. There are some things that can’t make up for later in life and kissing boys in hight school is one of those. It just has to be done in high school. 🙂

    Like

    • Very happy you liked my poem. And you are right – if I kissed any high school boys now, it just wouldn’t be the same!

      Like

  13. a paisagem e linda eu gostode lugares livres da natureza e linda e gosto de campo mato arroio riu mar deserto ao araiar do dia e do entardecerda noite do dia de tudo no firmamentoa lua o sol amo deus e agradeso aele por ter feito tudo isto tan perfeito e adimiravel glorias a deus em nome de jesus amem obrigada senhor por tudo

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