Monday, January 3, 2011

Authors Notes - Holding Your Own Mirror

As the New Year makes its debut, and my life goes through changes – I am reminded how important it is to “hold your own mirror.” It will take stepping away from a situation and taking the time to heal and reflect without the noise and without being usurped by the needs of others. It’s not a path taken easily, but is nevertheless a necessary passage in gaining clarity. In this scene from Pages in the Wind, Emily transitions from optimism to humiliation within a few minutes.


Emily picked a sunny yellow dress out of her closet for church and in anticipation of her grandmother's visit. She brushed her blond curls, and put on her white socks with yellow tulip trim, and shiny patent leather shoes. She rushed into the living room and opened the closet, and grabbed a stool to reach the hatbox on the upper shelf. Picking a hat was ceremonious on Sundays, because as a Catholic she was expected to wear a hat to church. She made a fast pick, aware of the time, and put the straw hat on. She ran back to her room to look in the full length mirror on the back of her door. She was proud of her selection, the sunny yellow dress set off by a stiff petticoat, patent leather shoes, and a straw hat with tiny flowers. The hat framed her delicate face and big round blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and pretty smile. She hoped that her parents would be proud of the way she looked. As a final touch, she slipped on her lacy white gloves, and grabbed her hymnal in time for church. She smiled in the long mirror, proud of her appearance. Her prideful gaze in the mirror was interrupted by the loud and harsh sound of her father's voice.


"Emily, get the hell in here right now!"


She momentarily froze at the sound of her father's obviously angry voice. Aware of his command, she ran toward his voice in the direction of the living room. Her father waved his arms in her direction. She frantically assessed the situation, desperately trying to find the source of his rage.


"Did you leave the hatbox on the chair?" he shouted as he pointed in the direction of the hatbox.


Emily looked hopelessly at the hatbox, which she realized in her haste she had forgotten to put back in the closet. All she could utter was a mournful "yes."


Her father, enraged, grabbed Emily and shook her little body. "You are stupid! Can't you ever do anything right?"

Young Emily has a sensitive and gentle nature, with the capacity for joyous energy. When she looks in the mirror in preparing for a family church outing, her spirit shines through. As she endures the cruelty of her father, her spirit changes. When she finally leaves for church, her reflection is shattered, and she is no longer looking at the radiant child she saw in her mirror earlier. Her father is now holding the mirror, and the beautiful reflection of an innocent child is lost. If Emily passes a mirror again that day, what will she see? Will she look? Would you?