Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last weekend I attended a party where there was a silhouette artist (I know what you're thinking: only in L.A.). I watched from afar as children sat in her chair as she outlined their profiles and then, in Edward Scissorhands speed, cut out their silhouettes.

I remember when I was five someone at my school did my silhouette. My parents always displayed it in the den, and as the years went by I often marveled at how this shadowy profile truly captured the essence of 5-year old me.

A silhouette is defined as a representation of someone or something showing the shape and outline only, typically colored in solid black. To me, it looks like a shadow, and this immediately brings to mind Jung's "Shadow Aspect."

"Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." Jung also believed that this shadow self was the "seat of creativity." As I plow through my new novel, a bleak, dark, true crime piece, Jung's statements ring truer than ever.

There is something beautiful about silhouettes, how they capture the essence of a person - eyelashes, nose, mouth, chin - without concern of detail (skin tone, eye color, wrinkles). Perhaps because it was a warm day and I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, this silhouette also captured the child in me, the one who still believes in writing stories for a living, one who sits in the chair designated for kids as another artist cuts through the blackness to reveal the shadow aspect, the outline, the self.


Kasey said...

great silhouette of you! great entry!

gerry said...

Reads like the begining of a great novel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melis,
I agree with both--I WANT to read on from here... and I am so glad you published that at 5!
My brother and I had silhouettes done when I was about that age, then Peter cut off my nose a few years later when he was angry with me (the black paper nose, that is).

But that is another story...
Miss you,
Kate R.