Veronique Darwin

Hello, Jillian

In My Writing on April 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

Jillian would just hate yoga.

My main character floats in and out of my thoughts throughout the day, asking me why I’m not paying attention to her. Of course, Jillian would never say that. She’d pretend she didn’t care. She’s probably forgotten my name.

As I “sat” in chair pose in yoga class today, I considered Jillian doing yoga. It was absurd – I don’t know, picture your oldest grandparent doing yoga. Though Jillian isn’t my oldest grandparent, she’s someone I know well enough that I could buy her a suitable gift, or run her life.

According to rules, I’m supposed to have done a pages-long analysis of Jillian (and her mother, and her cab driver), and though I have attempted one (I am a diligent student), Jillian lived before I needed to decide her favourite cereal (Jillian doesn’t eat cereal!!)

So I use this opportunity to challenge anybody to ask me a question about Jillian by leaving a comment below.

Hint: she is a female.

I already received two excellent, thoughtful questions. Keep them coming!

What is Jillian’s biggest obstruction from her childhood? Did she overcome it? How does it effect her presently?

Jillian grew up in the British Properties of West Vancouver, with parents who were more interested in finding someone to look after her than they were in looking at her. Jillian grew up knowing her mother was sleeping around, that her father was an alcoholic, that the wealth they had wasn’t making anyone happy. Things became easier when her parents adopted her sister, Mea, when Jillian was six and Mea was five. Jillian made it out okay because of Mea, but she still has a hard pit in her stomach where love might have gone. She fills it with Scotch.

What is Jillian’s worst nightmare? Does this generate fears in her every day life?

Jillian’s worst nightmare is being trapped in a life she doesn’t want. She stayed in university for ten years, until she got her PhD, so that she wouldn’t have to start life. Now everything’s caving in on her and she sees that life is coming and all she wants to do is curl up in a ball so she doesn’t get hit in the head by a rock.

What motivates Jillian and what is she passionate about?

Jillian is passionate about great literature, but she is little motivated to do anything more about it than sit at a desk with a pen in her hand and a book on her lap. She did just study it for ten years. Jillian sees a deep black hole in her future, now that she’s graduated, so for now is content to avoid it by sitting in her study every day, doing something akin to writing. Can writing be writing if you don’t write a word?

What is she insecure about?

Jillian has social anxiety. Unlike Gil, who finds people so easy, Jillian stands in corners, in closet doorways at parties, avoiding.

Is she right- or left-handed? What about when she plays hockey or baseball?

Jillian is right-handed but tried being left-handed during a year of high school. She’s jealous of the creativity people guess at, or hope for, when they see left-handed people scrawling in smudged, illegible handwriting. Jillian wouldn’t know what hand she uses for hockey or baseball. She was on a softball team a few years ago, but she refused to go up to bat. She smoked at least three cigarettes per game, with her right hand.

  1. Is she right- or left-handed? What about when she plays hockey or baseball?

  2. Thank you for your question, Geneviève! Check out the post above for your answer.

  3. […] I created a character I cared about, and plot fell into place. Like Oscar, I care about Jillian, and I care about her view on the […]

  4. […] Jillian is a first person narrator who knows less about herself than the book’s non-narrators. Jillian isn’t exactly an unreliable narrator, but a self-professed forgetful alcoholic. Jillian doesn’t know much about who she is, so she can tell us little about it. Jillian isn’t sure what she’s doing next, so she can’t tell us that either. We follow Jillian because people around her hint at her, and us, that she can be something more. We’re waiting to find out what. […]

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