The name refers to a character in The Collection who feels “trapped” inside a body that, due to social pressure, she’s been compelled to hide. However, my main character Patrick, an artist with a taste for the unusual, thinks she’s the most amazing looking human being he’s ever laid eyes on. He feels this so much so, that it affects his plans to save his brother who is being sent into a mine standoff that will almost surely take his life. It’s his loving relationship with her, conducted entirely incognito via her blog, that keeps his demons – and by direct association – his dark powers at bay. And then…
…well, I don’t want to say just yet. But I was truly inspired by the photo you see above, and the way that beauty can be perceived in so many different ways. In our world, and to an extreme the world in The Collection, shapeshifting and nothing being what it seems has a devastating impact on society and how we define relationships. Therefore, for me, finding someone who is so much at the mercy of what they are on the outside has an endearing, almost liberating effect, regardless of whether they prove “good” or not. Sheridan covers up her freckles to fit in (and to protect her from a “sun that’s trying to kill her”), but they have already carved out her personality and made her who she is; her “spots” cannot be changed, forcing her to accept to a large degree who she is inside from a very young age. Patrick thinks she’s quite striking, and we watch his remote pursuit of her with both heartening optimism and deep anxiety. Knowing that his emotions are so precariously balanced to begin with, and now dangerously attached to the ebb and flow of this unique and yet, at its core, deceptive love fills us with a sort of charmed dread. Well, that’s the idea anyway.
Anyhow, I discovered this photo a long time ago and find it very intriguing that this young woman has her picture “out there”, yet has never been identified. It’s almost as if she doesn’t really exist, a whimsical notion that practically begged me to give her an identity of my own. I believe it was a stock image used for commercial advertising, but it’s also very much a picture of a woman who must have had a very unique perspective on life. If this entry finds her, thank you so much for inspiring an important and interesting character and sincere apologies in advance if she misses your essence entirely. In fact, in many ways, I hope she does.
One final note: I finished watching Pan’s Labyrinth and was very pleased with it overall. I also found it interesting that two of the three sequences surrounding her tasks were kept very brief, serving to give us the creeps and support the main narrative in small, but poignant ways. Not only did they serve the story in an important role in terms of structure, they also gave the film the fanciful tone that elevated it away from what was in the end a harsh and unforgiving tale. In pacing the more fanciful sequences in The Collection, I also found that I wanted them to comment more on the changes in my main character, as opposed to simply adding some harrowing action to a dark superhero yarn with cautionary undertones. Hopefully, as I approach one quarter of the way into my first draft, I’m succeeding.
Back under, I go.