Alison Bechdel drew influences from many authors. Her father was very literate and had a “library” in their house filled with books that had obvious signs of use. Alison’s father was hit by a truck and died in an incident that seemed suspiciously like a suicide. After his death,Alison became engrossed in her father’s favourite literature. She began referencing his fancied authors, quoting them and reading biographies on them. It’s interesting to see how she’s so influenced by her father in her writing when you think of the possibly hereditary influence she also received from him of preferring the same sex.
In an interview with “On The Fly”, she states that one of her strongest literary influences as a child was “Harriet The Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh. Alison tells how she “must have read the book 30 times as a kid”. This is understandable since Harriet is such a relatable personality to Alison’s. The book is about being a writer and Alison did turn out to be a writer after-all. But there’s more to it than that; it’s about a little girl who keeps a diary and doesn’t let anyone else see it, always writing notes on everyone around her. As a memoirist in tune to personalities and documenting other peoples’ behaviours, Alison “loved this idea”.
In an interview with MindTV, Alison talks of how she prefers to depict real people rather than fiction. She says she’d prefer to “unravel the chaotic existence of life into a real story” rather than make people up. This is interesting though because she does write about fictitious characters as well. She says though that they feel like real people to her, which is most likely because they draw on personalities in her life. In her memoir Fun Home, she writes “the line that dad drew between reality and fiction was indeed a blurry one”, yet another level of obvious influence from her father.
Here's a possibly informative video on Alison Bechdel if you speak German.
(I'll add more to this post and other posts later - Steven Twigg)