Now, I have to qualify this because I am writing fiction, specifically speculative fiction, and I don’t want to give the impression that I have an alien in my head, or that I think I have an alien in my head, or that I kill lots of people or even want to kill lots of people.
In fact, I wrestled a lot with going forward with this whole concept because there is already a lot of misinformation about Dissociative Identity Disorder and I don’t want to add to it.
I could have written a non-fiction memoir or a realistic fictional novel about this particular mental illness, but, honestly, I don’t read that kind of thing. I have tried to get through Sybil a half dozen times, but it just never held my interest. Why would I write something that I wouldn’t want to read?
What I do read is science fiction and fantasy and action thrillers, so that’s what I decided to write. The idea of Catskinner came from the feeling of being dissociative, but rather than try to make it realistic I wanted to exaggerate the feeling. Sometimes in order to tell the truth you have to lie, and the best lies are the big ones, the ones that no one could mistake for the truth.
I hope that people will come away from Catskinner’s Book with sympathy for James, and a bit of an understanding of what being dissociative is like. Not the quotidian reality, the subjective experience.