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.

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.