Running

06/18/2007 at 6:53 pm (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, Uncategorized)

It’s pretty clear that writers have a strong influence on our characters. We make them who they are. They are nothing without us. Until we publish a story with them in it, anyway, and then they make a break for it.

The thing that surprises me (one of the things) is how our characters can influence us. Bridget, for example, a character in The Sisterhood novels. She is not much like me. She’s the least like me of the four main characters. (Readers always seem to love her the most.) I realize that since I’ve started writing about Bee, she has inspired me. She inspires me to do more and think less. To worry less. She’s not afraid of how people see her or how things seem. She’s a runner. When I first wrote about her I was not a runner. I had developed a strong dislike of running in fifth grade when we had to run an 8-minute mile for the Presidential Fitness test. But I realized I loved running with Bee–running toward things, running away from things. I realized what a release it was for her. As I attempted to occupy her mind as her writer, I felt it too.

Soon after I wrote the Second Summer, in which Bee does some truly cathartic running, I started running myself. It was pretty miserable at first. I’d run half a mile and feel exhausted. “You’re not running far enough,” a friend told me. That, weirdly enough, turned out to be true. Two miles felt better than one mile. Soon three miles felt better than two. When I described Bee running seven or eight miles in under an hour, I thought it was nearly superhuman. Now I can do that, and it feels pretty ordinary. And though I feel like I know Bee better now, she’s become less mysterious. Maybe she was always in there somewhere.

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2 Comments

  1. Tiffany said,

    I am doing a book talk in class and i did it on your book and i was wondering what made you want to write this book? Did it have any relation towards your life?

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Tiffany,

      I appreciate your curiosity about the books relating to my life.
      I am influenced by my experiences, people I love, movies, books, songs, poems and the stories people share with me. Some of the themes in the Sisterhood novels connect to experiences in my own life. My favorite clothes sharing memory has to do with my wedding dress. It is a magical dress that not only conforms to the wearer- whatever her shape- but also transforms her and connects her to women who have worn it before and who will wear it in the future. Does that sound familiar? I wore it at my wedding and then my sister-in-law, Kirsten wore it when she married my older brother. After that, my sister-in-law, Katrina, wore it when she married my younger brother and then my life-long friend, Beth, wore it at her wedding, too. And I bet you can guess what dress my youngest brother’s fiancee, Kate, chose to wear at her wedding! I didn’t pressure her, I swear! : )
      So, to answer your question, life is my inspiration!
      I hope you did well with your book talk!
      Sincerely,
      Ann

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