First there was the word "masks." People can wear masks both in the concrete and figurative sense; we don't always show everything about ourselves to everyone. The characters in my stories wear masks and the story along with the more subtle subtext work together to provide the overall picture. In this case one might say the concrete masks the more abstract subtext which necessary for a more accurate understanding of what's happening and why.
And so I consider and weigh each of the aspects of these two words and ideas continue to grow, which is the exciting part of writing. Learning about the characters and their stories, I purposely work with the words, story and materials until the heart of the story becomes clear and the synergy this produces as it all comes together explodes into light and I'm awe inspired with the result.
Note: both of the above photos were taken at Banff Centre for the Arts, Fall 2009.