“Not again”, the writer said as he looked at his email. “No, I’m not writing about myself in that story – and yes my marriage is fine, thank you”.
It happened all the time. He wrote interesting stories about a variety of odd characters and somehow, someone he knew, would link some eccentricity of the character back to him. Or maybe something the character was going through, or maybe some setting.
“Ah, you wrote about somewhere within 500 miles of where you once lived as a child huh?”, a friend might start, “Bet Bob Weezilville is really you as a kid, isn’t he?!?”. The writer merely forced a chuckle and said “No, Bob isn’t me”. It was getting absurd.
So he sat down and crafted his polar opposite:
Wanda, a 87 year old female who lived in Argentina but was of nordic descent. Wanda gardened her whole life, had 10 children, married, divorced, and remarried 4 times, and spoke only a rare dialect of Himalayan folk language. Wanda ate nothing but carrots, drank coconut water, did not drive, but did enjoy ice skating and skiing when the weather allowed. She was also an irate, angry, bitter woman who nobody liked.
Satisfied, the writer penned Wanda’s first story. A simple piece about her gardening, a task that the writer himself actually abhorred, and learning a life lesson through radishes. He sent it to his publisher, and it appeared in his regular column in the next weeks paper.
The day after its publication, another email came in. The writer was overjoyed to see it was positive about Wanda’s story, and didn’t draw any allusion to the writer’s own life. That is, of course, until the last line, which read…
“Man, I never knew you had multiple personalities – next time Wanda comes out, give me a call – I gotta speak to her!”