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  • Art---Slip-'n-Slide_web
    Slip'n Slide Lindsay Dolan 
    See Things Lindsay Dolan 

Lindsay Dolan

  • Lindsay Dolan, Academic TransferLindsay-Dolan_web

    Lindsay brings the talents of both a writer and a photographer to the Illuminations pages. Her short story, "Helena," and her photographs, "See Things" and "Slip 'n Slide," were featured in Volume 15. Lindsay talks with us about her preference for writing and the genesis of her short story.

    Illuminations:  Hi, Lindsay! In your Vol. 15 bio, you say that you love "writing, painting, and photography, along with other creative activities and projects." Tell us about a few of your creative projects that you think have been most successful.

    Lindsay:  "Helena," my short story for Illuminations, of course! As for artwork, I've painted two pieces, which I call "The Naked Lady Paintings." They're kind of Greek/Roman/classic styled. Those are easily the best two paintings I have ever done. And, of course, my novel I'm on the editing stage of, called, Red.

    I:  You ARE busy! Your short story, "Helena," was a traditional, romantic story. What inspired you to write it, and how did you choose to use the style you did?

    L:  "Helena" was inspired by the song "Helena," by the band My Chemical Romance. The music and lyrics always put a very specific story in my mind, though it's not what the song is actually about at all. Every time I'd listen to the song, I'd imagine two people in this forbidden love, and the girl is to marry another man, ultimately for money and for security. There's this really intense part in the song near the end where I imagine a wedding scene: the girl walking down the aisle, looking from her true love to her fiancé, having flashbacks and trying to decide what to do in the moment. And the scene always had to end in tragedy. When she chooses security/money over love, the wedding transforms into a funeral. The style of writing I chose was first person narrative - it's the style I usually go with when writing. 

    I:  Cool concept, Lindsay. In addition to having a short story published in Vol. 15, you had two photographs published, and as you mentioned, you engage in painting, as well. Of these three - painting, photography, and writing --, which do you think best captures what you want to say and why?

    L:  Well, if I had to choose one, it would always be writing because there's nothing I wouldn't say or express or show or tell in a writing project if I wanted to. If I want to cross a line, I can. I can be as light or dark as I want, and I don't feel any restrictions. I'm expressive in my art and photography as well, but there are lines I haven't crossed and may never.

    I:  Interesting. What artists/photographers/writers have influenced your work?

    L:  An artist that has influenced everything in my life is M.C. Escher. His work is SO his own, so strange, beautiful, disturbing -- just amazing and honest. He's inspired me over the years in many ways because his art is completely his own creation, straight from his imagination. His mind and thought process I also find inspiring, and I really like how open he is about it. As far as authors go, every time I read a new book, I am inspired by that author and learn something new.

    I:  What are your future career plans, and how do your artistic talents figure into them?

    L:  I am going to be a novelist. Some may look at the word "novelist" and think I'm out of my mind, but I've never been scared of it. I have never considered failure in my future with writing. My artistic talents will always be shown in my work, whether it be writing, art, or photography. It's just who I am.

    I:  Indeed! What advice would you give those who want to express themselves artistically but who lack confidence in their skills?

    L:  Again, I bring up "crossing lines." It's not always so much about skills as it is daring to use your imagination. So many people worry too much about what others will think of them -- their mind, their imagination --, or if others would like their work. But no one ever gets anywhere by playing it safe. And that even applies to something that no one may ever see but you. So basically, my advice is to cross lines, forget about other people's opinions, exercise your imagination, read a lot, be willing to learn, and practice what you're trying to be good at - every day. 

    I:  Finally, Lindsay, the silly question of the day:  If you were reincarnated as an ice cream flavor, which flavor would you be?

    L:  Most definitely Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie!


    From "Helena," by Lindsay Dolan: 

    With a waning smile, I take one last look in the mirror at the dress. It feels unsuitable to stand in white when the occasion calls for black. My skin has fallen pale, and the room feels cold. Jim's voice singing by the lake is all I can hear. His is the only name I can speak, so I'm careful to not say any. His face, every detail, is the only one that crosses my mind. "Don't cry, Clarisse. You'll ruin your makeup!" Mother's bark interrupts my thoughts.

    "Look at her! She's so happy!" another cheers.

    The cathedral doors open, and the congregation stands at the sight of a promised bride-to-be. I see hundreds of faces in the crowd, but not one satisfies the burning anxiety in my chest. So many have gathered for the service. Willard Thomas grabs my hand and fondly looks at me at the bottom step of the altar. I give him a polite nod in return, and my eyes fall on the window I am closing.

    Behind Willard stands James Hawkwood between two gentlemen dressed in finer attire than he. From the second row, Jim's eyes stare into mine, telling me it is my last chance at happiness. I feel a gentle tug on my hand, and I let my fiancé lead me up the altar steps. The preacher's words are a blur, and his tone is grave; the room holds it silent and somber….