Pieces of Me – A Friday Fictioneers Confessional, Dilettante Style

It is easy to be vulnerable in a mask, darlings — I am not brave; I am a coward.

My cowardice allows me to vent and bleed and show all those raw emotions that make for powerful writing — but I have a confession to make: I don’t think I could do them as me. And so I am Helena, and you all love your favourite dilettante, because she is a wonderful work of fiction.

The me that sits in the box, bound and gagged, sometimes gets jealous of the attention Helena gets, I think. (Go ahead, try to wrap your head around that meta-crisis; I dare you)

Anyhow, this is me being non-fictional and strangely personal, darlings, which is what Helena’s for.

Not much of an entry, this week, I’m afraid. Just personal musings about compartmentalising.

Read some good stories here


Copyright: Sean Fallon

Copyright: Sean Fallon

There’s a part of me in everything I write.

Which part; now that’s the question.

I’ve compartmentalised myself to be enigmatic, and I sometimes forget what my other voice sounds like.

My real voice.

Am I the writer or the fiction?

Once in a while, I take myself out of the box and cut the stitches from my lips, and the voice that comes out is strange and foreign to me.

I justify this self-censorship to myself, saying “Nobody wants to know the real story.”

And while you’ll never know what you’re missing, you’ll only ever get pieces of me.


59 responses to “Pieces of Me – A Friday Fictioneers Confessional, Dilettante Style

  1. I had a crisis about a year back where I realized how much I had changed, and wondered what I had lost in the process of changing, and did that make “me” really me? Was I being fake? I came to realize that we’re all more complicated than we think we are, and even if we begin to understand what kind of person we are, we’re constantly changing anyway. Take pleasure in the you that you might not think is you, because it did still come from somewhere in the recesses of YOUR brain. /longboringnonsesicalmonologue

  2. I had an inkling that something might be changing when your gravatar changed and you talked about the smoking. I’m looking forward to learning more about the Helena that is more than the sum of her parts. All the best in the process.


  3. i second misskzebra’s comment about taking pleasure in the you that you might not think is you. i for one, am thankful to have caught a glimpse of even just pieces of you. all the best 🙂

  4. I used to write under a pen name. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was still just me, only calling myself something else. One day I decided I didn’t need the fake name. Not sure why, it just didn’t feel right anymore. I put myself out there for the world to see and the rest, as they say, is history. Best of luck to you.

  5. Really good thoughts on the creative process and how much of who we really are comes out in our writing, what we dare to say, and what we feel we must conceal. I The “me” I write about with all his flaws and neuroses I actually like better than the real me. Perhaps it’s so for many writers. Not much of an entry? No, a very thoughtful one.

    • Thank you, Perry — that is precisely what I was on about — how much of ourselves we put into our fiction — and where the line gets blurred between fact and fiction. My memoirs should best be read with the disclaimer (like from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) “Most of what follows is true…” I’m finding that I’m hesitating re-visiting some painful things because they are too close to the truth, and the decision to fictionalize some things is nagging at me. Nobody needs know what is fact and what is fiction… but I’ll know.
      The temptation to rip off the mask and shock and alienate everyone is great…. but I maintain, like you say — the “me” I write about is far more interesting than the real me.

  6. Dear Helena,

    I know from experience that the mask can get stuck and become a prison. I don’t wish that on anyone. I applaud your courage in writing your “not much of an entry.”



      • Dear Helena,

        I don’t know if you ever fully escape the role. “The audience knows what to expect and that’s all they’re prepared to believe.” On the other hand that’s not an altogether bad thing. Some people aren’t safe.
        And even being open and honest with those you care about can be risky. For me it took years of therapy. (Not a joke). There are always those tendencies to put on the mask again. Not everyone will understand the changes or appreciate the real you.
        Again, I think you’re a courageous lady to post this. I’m glad you’re a Friday Fictioneer, Darling.



  7. I really loved what you’ve written Helena. Your introductions are always fascinating. And your story is fantastic. Will the real Helena please stand up . . . and take a bow!

    • There’s a fine line we walk writing fiction — how much of ourselves do we put into it. I am currently re-reading The Shining right now after many years, and knowing what SK has revealed about his private life — the drinking and drugs, etc… you have to wonder how much of Jack Torrance was actually Stephen King… and that’s a bit frightening.

  8. Alexand is my Helena, I know exactly how you feel. Our avatars are in a sense enriching our lives. Becoming someone else isn’t cowardly, it’s brave, and thank you for sharing her with us. I look forward to her stories. Cheryl

  9. Much food for thought here, leading to much chewing. I once read a writer’s musing on his (and others’ stories): Everything we write is, ultimately, about ourselves. And then there’s the incomparable Alice arriving in Wonderland: “Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” I think a beautiful thing about creating art is that we can try out different voices, experiment, explore. We’re each a myriad of characters.

      • I wonder if I’ll be asking questions like those for many years to come. Other questions come up for me, too, such as: Am I satisfied with where I am? I’m not fond of the phrase “finding yourself” as I think “creating and making yourself” can lead to more meaningful insight and changes. My best wishes to you.

  10. I love your story! “I take myself out of the box and cut the stitches from my lips,” is revealing and quite descriptive. I doubt any of us would want to know each others real stories. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself.

    I hate to think that what I write is about myself since I write weird, disturbing, creepy stuff a lot of the time. What does that say about me? I’m really quite happy and “normal”, at least I thought.

  11. Very raw, vulnerable post. I really appreciate you sharing yourself here… the minute I saw the new gravitar I was dying to see what was behind it. Personally, I can relate to the woman behind the mask, a little easier. Wonderfully done. I’m glad you’re opting to share more of who lives behind the fictional character. Both are charming.

      • Personally, I don’t think you can move on, or through things, until you get them out in the light and work through them. I’ve been through some very challenging things, and moving on has always involved “re-living” it and then letting it go. I hope the best for you, on your own journey.

  12. Loved this. I think your readers will love all of the pieces of you, or as many (or as few) as you care to share. As to this week’s piece, it was lovely and thought provoking. Brava!

  13. I like the thinking in this one. So many layers to the train of thought. I think this is true of many authors. Bits and pieces emerging from characters here and there, but never the whole. I enjoyed this a lot.

  14. You nailed what it is to be a writer, I think, to have that dance between putting yourself in the story and drawing back to hide behind characters. I like to write in the first person, but if something is too personal, sometimes I use third person and stick another name on the character. I guess I’m a coward too sometimes.

  15. Great story, beautifully told as always, especially the ‘stitches’ bit. I’m not one for introspection these days, I’ve learned it tends to leave me with my head up my ass. It is what it is, it was what it was. Which has made me what I am and what I write about. But I know I had similar thoughts to yours a long while back, so good luck with the process you’re negotiating. I wish you well.

  16. Because my name really is not Freya (I ‘borrowed’ it from my maternal grandmother, who I never met (and that should tell you something, right there)), I know, know and know what you are saying, but just in my way, not yours, because nobody else can really, truly, understand what another person’s feelings are all about. We just might have an idea.

    I have no idea who I am – am I Freya more, or ‘me’ more? Which is me? When do I know if I am authentically one or the other, whilst I am writing?

    Mademoiselle Hann-Basquiat – when you get to the light, you will really appreciate it for what it is, and then I doubt it will matter so much which of you is the real one, or you’ll delight in the wonderful merging of the two (imagine a chocolate-vanilla marble sponge, beautiful in its crazy sponge mixture of dark and light) ….


  17. I used to write poetry. It was generally deep, thought provoking stuff (if you can imagine that from me). It gave those who read it a window to my soul. Even now, I still inject some of myself into my characters, but I quit taking myself so seriously. After all, no one else does.

  18. Dear Helena,

    ….I like you, whomever you are. What you let us see is not so far removed as you may think from who you really are. (I climbed up off of my deathbed to get that profound thought onto paper and off to you so don’t disagree to vociferously with it.)

    No matter what you think you are not letting out, I see enough to know….



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