Through Your Eyes

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The way you look at someone–and smile–will affect them in ways you may never know.

Some of us take a lot of trouble with our appearance–to present the best possible countenance to the rest of the world. We gaze in the mirror and refine our looks with gadgets and beauty products, preening and posing until we are satisfied with the way we look. Sometimes we even smile at the reflection we see…and guess what…it smiles back! We leave feeling good about ourselves.

But what about the “look” we give the rest of our fellow travelers in our daily rounds? Are we as generous with each of them–as pleased with what we see in their faces? Maybe some of us are not even pleased with the image we last saw in the mirror. Bad hair day? Acne? Didn’t get the makeup quite right? And, oh no–wrinkles!

Remember that the most perfect “look” you show the rest of the world is the way you look at others, the way you see them, and the way they see themselves reflected in your eyes.

Don’t forget to smile.

What’s it like being a novelist after 18 days?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Around 15 years ago I met a cute guy who owned a small town newspaper. I admit, I wanted to impress him, and since I wasn’t the only woman vying for his attention, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to dust off my writing skills and submit an article he might find worthy of publishing. Much to my delight, he called me after reading the article and said, a little surprised I think, “You’re a writer!” He also published the article.

While my plan to win him over romantically didn’t succeed, I gained something far more valuable than an LTR. From that day on, after years of dabbling in writing creatively, I actually began to think of myself as a writer. When people would ask me what I did, even though I worked as a telemarketer or an administrative assistant, I would say, “I’m a writer.” I went to writers’ conferences, read my poetry in coffee houses, and participated in workshops and literary events with writers whom I respected.

When I recently found out after all these years that this gentleman was writing his first novel and already had an agent, I thought, “Hey, I’m a writer, too. Why aren’t I writing a novel?” I didn’t have a reason to impress him anymore, but because he was the first to acknowledge me as a writer, I felt compelled to show him if he could become a novelist at our age, I could certainly give it a try.

Enter NaNoWriMo. It was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself to complete a rough draft without knowing a thing about actually writing a novel. It was such a hair-brained idea, I could not think of a reason not to do it!

Now it very well may turn out that he sells his novel and goes on to become rich and famous, or not. And it may turn out that all I ever accomplish is putting together a story of 50,000 or so words and never get it published, or maybe I’ll get published and become rich and famous. But the really important point here is that just as it was 15 years ago when I started thinking of myself as a writer, I am now thinking of myself as a novelist.

They say a habit takes 21 days to take root. I’ve been noveling for 18 days, so in just three more days, I will officially be a novelist. I dare anyone to tell me I’m not. I will never think of myself in quite the same way again.