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It all began around Hallowe’en, not the last one but the one before that. Winter was coming, I could just see myself spending it curled up with Prunelle in front of the TV and it gave me something of a jolt. The very next day, I put up the TV for sale on a neighbourhood group, the day after that my neighbours from almost-across-the-street came and took it away! On the third day I began to pursue writing, as they say in old-fashioned books.

Let me tell you right away that this is auto-fiction, or autobiographical fiction. As I told a friend who is both a translator and a writer, if I start writing, first I’ll have to release the many trifles which happened to me. Perhaps that’s why I took so long to get started: I was hoping to find another way to begin, but there wasn’t any.

Another friend’s comment made me aware of a discrepancy between the almost naive tone, close to youth literature, and the explicitness of some of the content. I have no idea what to do with that, except to add pictures. I missed drawing and what I call photopainting: tinkering with images on a screen, experimenting for hours. Stop. Start over. Save. Repeat. Between that and a compelling urge to move forward, I decided to delve into copyright-free or Creative Commons-licenced images for source material. All the same, I take note of their origin: the website, the page.

Same goes for the drawing part: using images as models, sure, but equally copyright-free to avoid grey areas. And for maximum freedom, let me tell you something else right away: I am often going to draw by tracing on top of a photograph, on the backlit glass pane of my drawing table. I plead the same motive: compelling urge to move forward. I don’t have the time to master all kinds of stuff when I still have no knowledge of writing.

All right, but what it is this all about?

There once were two girls, seven and ten years old, who were abducted by their mother, uprooted from the suburbs of Paris to the outskirts of Montreal, and raised under a false name. The mother and her second husband were undergoing the first stages of what would become a long folie à deux which, to my knowledge, has never ceased. It just went worse and worse. For all their certainty of engaging in a life well above the entire world, they actually descended into a daily life steeped in violence, threats, intimidation, and I could go on.

I was the oldest. But as you will see, my narrator goes by another name. Since this is part fiction, I’d rather lie just once and call the rest invention.

My captivity lasted seven years.

Until the day when I saw the telephone snarl


P.S. I have been asked if I wouldn’t like to publish this in a “real” book. I have several answers to that. First, this is a work in progress: while I’m already well ahead text-wise, I’m churning up the illustrations as I go along. Also, visual art goes with a pressing need to see the result exist outside of oneself. Not to mention the fact that I’m so close to this project that the idea of offering it to publishers makes me feel a thousand times more vulnerable. Plus, I don’t know who would be interested in publishing an illustrated story. Printing images is expensive.

That being said, I am open to proposals 😎


Anecdotes est un récit d'autofiction écrit et illustré par Sophie Voillot is the writer and illustrator of Anecdotes,
translated by Donald Winkler.
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