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?


  1. I idnetify with the blog and your writing so much. I have had someone holding my mirror and also work toward getting my own self away from the influences. Your writing is so beautiful and so moving, it brings tears. They say tears heal so it is good for me. Thank you for giving me that insight. Love your blog and it is my favorite.

  2. I heard about your blog an dealing with the issue of psychological harm. Your writing is so beautiful, Im a follower now. When is your book being published and I hope you announce on your blog. Fabulous all around.

  3. Found you through FB, love the story and I will go back and read it from beginning. Whata subject, something I know of and of super interest to me. This is important and your shining it in superb fashion---love your wriigng.

  4. Thanks for this post, I found you by networkedblogs (I wrote a post concerning promoting you blog). btw I followed and I like what you write about... have fab day

  5. Intriguing blog. This is my first visit, but I'll jump right in.

    If I were Emily, I would avoid a mirror. Knowing life though, there would be a thousand of them thrust at me that day. The rearview mirror of a car, the reflection of her face in the holy water at church, a warped mirror that is the back of her soup spoon at Sunday dinner. Even if she avoids the mirrors, they will come for her.

    When she finally looks, I imagine she'll see what her father sees - at first. Since I'd like to believe she is on her way to becoming a strong young woman, I imagine that if she continues to stare at herself, she'll see some cracks in her father's image of her. Some cracks where the real Emily seeps through.

    Focus on the cracks, Em. Focus on the cracks.

  6. Hi I found your blog through Bonnie! So glad I did! I love your writing style and I will be a regular on your blog :)

    If I was Emily I would continue to look in the mirror. But previously where she was only focused on her own image in the mirror, she will now see what lies behind it.


  7. All I can say is wow, your blog is the talk! So intereesting and love you style girl. I cant wait for the book~~!!!! :)

  8. Your writing has a passion I dont see often and I hope it goes to print. I have been thinking about the mirror post all day as it is such an interesting concept. Your story and book is going to be a page turner - AWESOME!

  9. Wow, this selection is so simple and tragic. I think, in a very basic way, I can relate to how Emily feels. If you're that proud or excited about something, and a person drags you down so much, it really ruins everything. Nothing feels the same way anymore, no matter how hard you try. Your perception of yourself changes with the perceptions of those around you. It's like the idea that if you're told you're stupid often enough, you start to believe it. It's very true, and no matter how you feel about the people telling you things, it still sinks in on some levels. I think that Emily wouldn't even look in the mirror again. It just wouldn't cross her mind, and it wouldn't be the same anyway. Like conditioning, she'd feel the pain if she tried to look in the mirror. Eventually, however, that will fade, and she'll be able to see herself as beautiful again.

  10. Your writing relates so well to me and probably to women in general. I love your writing and I so hope that you continue with it because this really is eye opening for so many women. Bravo to you.

  11. This post just hit home with me. It is so true and in mylife it really is true. Your story is so beautiful and your writing. It really made me think and definitely to hold my own mirror. thank you for the post.

  12. I saw your blog on the REader, this is a great book in the making and can't wait to see it on shelves. It is a sensitive subject that you handle with much passion. Fabulous work.


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