I wrote below about keeping images of Three Sisters as inspiration for one novel, but I also keep images for the heroine Zizola (whose name means in Italian "A trifle" or a "bagatelle") for a second novel I am also researching and writing. In many ways finding Zizola has been harder.
Zizola is a 16th century Italian street child, grown into a young woman trickster with fantastic gifts of her own. She is prickly, can be sharp-tongued, no stranger to creative vulgarity, and yet hungers for what she imagines might be a "normal" life, one that can connect her to people other than her constant servant-companion Giano, a savvy Arlecchino whose appetite for food and sex constantly undermines his usefulness as a servant.
Zizola is more of a cipher as I wrote first about her as grimey adolescent in The Innamorati, and must now deal with her five or so years older. So art comes to me as suggestion of what is under her surface. Lines, hasty sketches, someone in the process of change.
But for all her sharp edges, she is also a potentially beautiful woman -- not because of perfect features, but because of the slow ripening of sensuality, of a bit more maturity that tempers her outbursts, and of her curiosity coupled with intelligence.
She's not really a beastly bride, but she shares with them an independent spirit and the power to manage her own affairs. She could be a fantastic bride, eventually offering all her gifts in the service of a creative union in marriage. The fact that she is not sure what she is and that I won't know either until she is done telling her story means that I expect the art will change considerably as she and I go forward. But here she is for now -- someone I can sense in small details, waiting for the full picture to emerge.
Art: My Agnes, Albrecht Dürer 1494, Sketch of Girl, Raffaello Sanzio 1483-1520, Detail of Lace (Artist unknown), Ana Teresa Barboza, John Singleton Copley: Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Detail)