Monday, May 25, 2009

The Mythical Lillian versus the Real Lillian

I received an interesting letter in the mail today. From a woman who says that Lillian is a myth and not real at all, and that I'm tilting at windmills and that I'd be better off writing something else.

I think there is a certain amount of information out there about Lillian that has been copied and recopied and plagiarized over the years. No one bothered to do any double checking, they just rehashed the same old thing. That is Lillian the myth. The Lillian that stuffed her dead dog full of grass, for example.

But the real Lillian, the one I'm trying to find, existed. There are traces of her in archives, old files, dusty newspaper accounts and faded memories. She existed within a context of a world that was on the cusp of dramatic change. Old ways gone, only to be found in oral histories or decrepit structures.

My aim is not to perpetuate the myth that is Lillian, rather, it is to explore the history of the time in which she lived, and learn why her story resonates so strongly and incites such passion 80 years later.
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