Recently my husband took me to see “The Phantom of the Opera” at Dallas’ Fair Park Music Hall. I’ve spent a lifetime listening to the soundtrack but had never actually seen it. It … was … magnificent. It surpassed all my expectations, and my expectations were pretty damn high. I was pleased, to say the least. I even went online and found Phantom earrings on Etsy, from a lovely seller named OperaPhanatic. Lot 667, showing here.

Phantom Earrings

Since then I keep coming back to the story. It is a magnificent story, so pleasingly story-shaped, as life never seems to be. It was almost mythic. The figure of a girl growing into herself, changing and becoming more than she was when she started, discovering aspects of herself through relationships, music and personal strength. Beauty, heroics and courage in Raoul, and an entirely different sort of beauty – and madness – in the Phantom. This tortured figure, this murderer and composer and lover, keeps drawing me back into his disfigured head. I keep telling him he is too recognizable to be a muse. I can’t make him into a character to write. He smiles and says “Oh yes you can. I will tell you how. SING FOR ME … ” Though when I try, my toddler says “MAMA NO!” Apparently my singing horrifies small children.

I have found that online, people will argue about anything, and the debate between Team Raoul and Team Phantom rages on. Team Phantom has some good points as to why Christine should be with him. He’s a genius, they respond to each other on a nearly cellular level of passion, he’s intriguing and mysterious and kind of paternal. He can help her art. He’s hot in his own bizarre way – at least in the latest movie version. Team Raoul has some equally good points, among them the fact that Raoul puts value on Christine’s freedom and personal choice, he knows her as a whole person and not as a twisted musical obsession, he’s hot in a classical way, he has money and position and can give her a non-sewer-oriented life. But perhaps the most poignant of Team Raoul’s points, and the only one that really matters, is that unlike the Phantom, Raoul is not a FUCKING PSYCHO. As intriguing as I find the Phantom, let’s not forget that he kills people, yo. And not even for terribly good reasons.

So I’m going to do something with my Phantom obsession. I’m not going to write fan fiction (shudder) or a pastiche of PotO. In fact, if I do it right, no one will even recognize it for the Phantom-inspired stuff it is. But I love the idea of the disfigured genius, and if I can have some other character fall as hopelessly for him as I have, then all the better.

Ummm … if my characters are part of myself, and I love my characters, does that mean I’m in love with myself?


  1. Jen said,

    March 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    There is truly nothing wrong with a little self love. 🙂

  2. April 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    And the book is even better :3

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