The Story Behind the Story: “Picasso Painting”

Although I have struggled with weight issues myself, I have never been a binger. However, I think labels like “overweight” and “obese” have the power to loom over our consciousness like a thundercloud, as it says in the opening of the story. I tried using understatement to paint a picture of someone with a low self-esteem who uses food and alcohol to self-medicate and gets used herself. I didn’t want the portrait to be entirely sympathetic or unsympathetic. I tried not to attach any judgment to the story. Two of the lines—the part about licking a Christmas tree and the part about the Picasso Painting—are things that have been said to me in real life. I wanted the ending of the story to be powerful and poetic—like a latte laced with lard. That was a line from a poem I had written about binge/emotional eating. I mostly wanted the story to be honest and true to life, for readers to recognize something in my brief portrait of Helen even if they didn’t have weight issues themselves.

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About Melanie Meyer

Melanie Meyer lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. She is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at National University while caring full time for her beautiful infant daughter.