The first influence for Vye was the famous Seattle tattoo artist, Vyvyn Lazonga (aka Madame Lazonga). She opened a tattoo parlor not unlike Vye's in 1989, and was a famous fixture on the Seattle scene about five minutes later. Vye is a window into that scene - the scarification described was based on a 'party' I went to at my friend Izzy's apartment where there was a display of S&M - no scars, but whipping and piercing. It was the early days of the body mod scene and it was very much tied up with the Industrial music scene too - with performance artists like Survival Research Labs (I briefly toyed with the idea of Vye's amputation being from an accident similar to Mark Pauline's but rejected it as unnecessary detail) and with the ReSearch zine. My then girlfriend had deliberately given herself a small scar on her right breast, that looked like a quotation mark, ", so I was aware of the idea, and what they looked like.
The second was a girl at my university when I was first writing Ash. She didn't make it into the part of the text I wrote back then, but the idea was there. Unlike Vye, who lost her lower arm later in life, this girl was born with part of the limb missing. To say she rocked it is a huge understatement. She would hold her cigarette packet to her chest with the short arm, flick a cigarette out with her lips, light and inhale in an exercise in dissolute grace that I still recall vividly today. She was bad-asss. Whenever I think about bad-ass, my mind goes to that moment.
Vye has been there and come back again. In my mind there's a lot she's done with from her past, but she takes Ash where he needs to go, despite the risks.
The last part of Vye is the relationship between her and Victory, who is dead before the novel begins. There's not much I can say about that, except perhaps that I do believe that it's OK to love again when you've lost someone.
I hope we get to see Vye again. If we do it might start something like this:
(possible spoiler, but not that much)
Vye closed the diary, then closed her eyes. When she opened them again she saw Ash, carefully facing away from her but unquestionably aware that she had stopped turning pages. How was she going to tell him? She had to, that was clear. But how? He was still physically fragile, tentative when he stretched at all, eye still part closed, face bruised. Mentally? She wasn’t sure. He’d been pretty quiet the last couple of days and Vye didn’t know what that meant. I’m processing things he’d said, the words sounding like ventriloquism.
At least she was pretty sure he wouldn’t directly question her; he’d said he didn’t want to read Victory’s diary and she believed him. But he must have sensed her growing disquiet over the weekend as she’d read. He would be watching for signs of what she thought.
So she had a little while to compose herself, but to take too long wouldn’t be fair on Ash. Or Victory.
Victory. Victoria Moses. Ash’s great love. Christ, he was going to be heartbroken.