Back in 1998, my work life was hectic. I was holding down two part-time graphic design jobs and although I was only twenty at the time, I was heading for a burnout. So one night, as I was getting home form work, I decided to first stop by a diner that was located around the corner from my apartment. I so did not feel like cooking that night. When I walked in, I was bleary and exhausted and not paying attention at all.
But I heard the loud gasp as soon as I walked through the door.
“Oh! Is it really you?”
I looked around, checking to see if this middle-aged woman with gray hair styled into sausage curls was talking to me and not someone else. She was talking to me. I scrambled in my mind, trying to come up with an appropriate response as fast as I could. I came up with, “What?”
She frowned, soft and disappointed. “Oh, maybe it's not you.” She looked away and waved a hand as she continued. “You look just like that girl. She was missing for awhile...”
“Well,” I said carefully, “that's not me.” Backing away now...
“Are you sure?” she called out after me.
“Yeah, um, I'm sure. I'm okay.”
She smiled like a grandmother would, greeting her grandchildren with freshly baked cookies. “Okay, then,” she relented with a slow nod.
Now, I was so tired and oblivious that it wasn't until I got back to my apartment with my hot chicken dinner that I began processing the event. I thought to myself... what the hell was that?!
I still don't have an explanation. It just happened. All kinds of strangers will come right up to me and tell me the darnest things for no... apparent... reason. I take it all in stride for the most part. Though sometimes I will be looking around frantically for the nearest exit.
Later that year, my boyfriend and I were invited to a small birthday party which was taking place a block from that same apartment. I suppose he was behaving like a stereotypical, insecure male, but needless to say, I wasn't impressed with the way he was shamelessly trying to upstage everyone that night. I made up an excuse to leave early. I don't even remember what the excuse was. It was either that or crawl under the table and die of embarrassment.
On our way back to my apartment, I stayed quiet while he rambled arrogantly about what he thought all those people were all about. He went on to say they were fake and pretentious. That's when I piped up. I just had to say something. I couldn't stand it anymore.
“You know what?” I told him. “All those people might be that and more. But I felt really alone tonight and I got no help from you.”
Then it was his turn to be very, very quiet. So glad that relationship ended.
I based certain scenes and characters in Eden Fell on those two incidents. The Ski Jacket Lady and Eden's meltdown after a party. (Shh, don't tell my ex). So when people ask me where my inspiration comes from, I end up giving a short answer and say everything. Life, death and everything between. I never need to look far inspiration. It's life and it's all around us anywhere we go. And that's where my inspiration comes from.