Saturday, 5 June 2010
Alter egos and doppelgängers
This is a shot of my workshop balcony. Bang in the middle of that bay tree is a wood pigeon's nest, a twiggy and random affair. In the nest are two squabs, baby pigeons just out of the egg. Their mother sits tight when I water the tree, and we both pretend the other isn't there, even when our eyes meet.
Last week I heard a kerfuffle, and saw a crow after the eggs. I scared it off, twice, then hastily made the scarecrow in the picture for when I'm not there. I change my alter ego's clothes and move it about daily. So far it's worked...
My daughter remarked that it looks worryingly like me. Which got me thinking more about doppelgängers, those inexplicable and sinister harbingers of doom. (More, because the story I'm currently working on involves a young woman who is duplicated, and her inconvenient replica has to go on the run with just what she stands up in.)
In real life, people who see their doppelgänger, or someone else's, are inevitably shaken by the experience, and one can well see why. It happened to John Donne, Lincoln, and Shelley among the famous. There is something spooky about doubles - even twins, nature's clones, are a little weird - and you really, really, wouldn't want to bump into yourself; never ring your own number just in case you hear yourself answer...
If you haven't read it, take a look at Hans Christian Anderson's short story The Shadow. Now that's a strange and disturbing tale.
Posted by Lexi at Saturday, June 05, 2010