Writing, Painting, and Identity


Christine Bailey


Painting myself for others, I have painted my inward self with colors clearer than my original ones. I have no more made my book than my book has made me. —Montaigne


Much like painting or drawing, the act of writing can offer a colorful and revealing self-portrait. In a favorite book of mine on writing and identity, author Roz Ivanic draws an analogy between fine art and writing, noting how both reveal “many fascinating issues of identity” (2). She explains the idea of the autobiographical self as the identity “which people bring with them to any act of writing” (emphasis mine, 24).

I understand this idea completely with journal writing or memoirs, but fiction is different, right? Not necessarily. As I’ve discussed before in earlier blogs, even though my fictional works are comprised of made-up worlds and characters, my own truths often seep through in my characterizations and settings.

For example, in my upcoming YA novel from Vinspire entitled Waking Under Water (2015), the characters are completely fictional yet their complications are based in relatable truths (many of which I experienced as a teen): truths about heartache, stresses of school, untrustworthy “friends,” complicated family dynamics, an untimely tragedy—the list goes on.

But that’s part of the reason I enjoy writing YA fiction so much: for me, my teen years were fraught with emotional turmoil; sometimes every little situation seemed intense, then other times life was “tots boring.” These days, I like the challenge of recreating authentic situations for a new generation of teens, and one thing that doesn’t change with time is raw human emotion. My own emotions dealing with loss and love (past and present) are painted into every text I write. It’s the identity I bring to the act of writing YA fiction.


Coming Soon! Waking Under Water: The latest YA novel by Christine Bailey from Vinspire Publishing


Visit cibailey.com for the latest blogs, comments, and news about author events!

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One response to “Writing, Painting, and Identity

  1. Christine: based on this post, you make me want to read YA Fiction for the first time in my life! Well done!

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