I write novels and a few years ago I shared an idea with a friend about a book I wanted to write about a girl called Alice who’s invisible. It was meant to be a comedy about a girl who had been invisible for quite a few years, until one day she bumps into a rather disgusting man and finally becomes visible again. It transpires that it's only when she’s in this man’s company that she’s visible.
As soon as I’d finished explaining all this to my friend, she said she could totally relate to it. I expected her to tell me all about a time she'd been stuck with a disgusting man. But instead she said she’s often felt invisible too.
Straight away I remembered being at school. I was far from popular at school. I wasn’t disliked, just not noticed. On one occasion a group of girls in class were sharing the latest gossip. One of them said they should stop as I could hear what they were saying. The other girl said, “It’s okay, it’s only Lindsay.” This wasn’t a compliment. It said I simply didn’t matter.
I felt myself morph into the wallpaper and disappear from sight. That was the first time I felt invisible, and I’ve felt it many times since. My friend had a similar story, and straight away I realised that if we both felt this way, other people must too. This is when I knew the key theme of my new book had to be invisibility in itself.
Although the book is still a romantic comedy, people have responded well to the more serious matter that underlines it, with one reviewer saying: “A rom-com which tackles social responses to mental health issues shouldn't work - but this one does!”
I was absolutely delighted with this. So many people have related to Alice. We may not know literally what it’s like to be invisible, but it seems at times many of us have got pretty close.
© Lindsay Woodward 2021-08-19