Jacqueline Doyle

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Jacqueline Doyle

What season do you find you write the most in?
I was going to say Autumn but probably Summer, when I have more time.

What inspired your piece?
I actually have a friend who was in her fifties when she learned from her older siblings that she’d had an imaginary friend. She had no recollection of her at all. That intrigued me.

Do you have a favorite line or lines from piece?
I like Raney’s emerging half memory of playing with her imaginary friend in her mother’s closet and her parents’ bedroom. The dusty shoeboxes, fluttering hems of her mother’s dresses, smell of her perfume. “Cool gray light filtered through the white drapes, always closed, reflecting off the mirror, the only bright spot in the room. Except for their giggles, the room was hushed. She’d been so happy!”

Who is your most influential writer? Who do you always go back to for inspiration?
Different all the time. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a central inspiration here, along with others like Dickinson, Poe, and James who conjure ghosts and ghostly doubles. I was also reading Shirley Jackson’s novels and Ruth Franklin’s feminist biography of Jackson as I wrote “Raney’s Imaginary Friend,” and she probably haunts the story as well, particularly the end.

What do you want readers to take away from your piece?
Women crossing boundaries, un-housing themselves, finding freedom? Gilman led a considerably more adventurous life than her semi-autobiographical character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” seemed likely to. Raney breaks out and breaks away.

What is your ideal writing environment?
I have a small and cluttered room of my own, which is great. I like quiet and solitude for writing; I can’t imagine writing in a café or public space.

Do you find writing invigorating or exhausting?
Invigorating when it’s going well, exhausting when I can’t seem to get it right.

Do you have any future writing plans?
To keep at it! I got a late start so I want to make up for that.


You can read Jacqueline Doyle’s piece “Raney’s Imaginary Friend” in Issue Five of The Ginger Collect.