About “Mirror Image”
“Mirror Image” was very first short story I ever published and it is also the one that has been republished the most times and the one I get the most questions about. Basically, it’s a meditation on identity and body image from the point of view of a teen girl who has had the first ever brain transplant. The story has been republished in Canada, the US and Germany and I’ve even received letters about it from as far away as Bhutan. Now it’s been made into a short film by Ryerson student Fay Eagles called “Alice Was Here.” I went to the first public screening in May 2010 and thought she did a great job!
Mirror Image FAQ
What inspired you to write this story?
It’s a boring answer, but the idea for “Mirror Image” came from a university writing assignment called, “Write About Someone Who’s Had a Brain Transplant.” At first it was about a grown woman who’d had the operation, and most of the conversations were between her and her husband. The story explored some interesting ideas, but as a whole, it just didn’t work. A few years later, when I started writing for young adults, I had the idea to lower the age of the main character, and suddenly the story came together. Suddenly, what Alice was going through became a metaphor for the identity issues most young adults face at that age, and all her questions—Am I beautiful now and what does that mean? Why is everyone treating me differently when I feel the same? Am I the same? Who am I?—began to resonate on two levels. Creating the foil of a twin sister was another change I made from the original and one I think really helped to highlight the themes.
Other Short Stories
Other short stories I’ve written have been published in the Toronto Star, where I have twice won second prize in the Sunday Star Short Story competition, and in the White Pine Award nominated collection, Up All Night.