Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mirror, Mirror

The September challenge at Write...Edit...Publish is Changing Faces. Submit your poem, art, or flash fiction September 24-26 and add your link at Write...Edit...Publish. Following is my submission. Feel free to offer your full critique.

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It is late Saturday afternoon and I am waiting for my husband to return from his golf game. I am looking forward to a glass of Merlot, dinner out, and maybe a movie. Sunlight slides through the shutters and illuminates the room as I am seated on the floor, trying to bring some order to the bottom drawer of my taboret. There is a strange kind of solace sorting through brushes and tubes of paint, the tools of my imagination.



I glance up and catch my reflection in the full length mirror on the opposite wall. It does not look like me. The image in the mirror is much younger, the face fuller, the skin firmer. My hair is lit up like gold. Good God, I wonder what makes my brown eyes look so blue. Oh, I do love this mirror, this great deceiver that transforms me. I stare and stare. Who is that in the mirror? I lose my anchor in time and space. Though the face is not familiar, nevertheless, I know it is me--me staring back at me perhaps from another time and place. I am enraptured.

A little tingle of fear works its way down my spine. I think of myself as a tall middle-aged woman, but the mirror tells me I am young and petite. I look as fragile as a flower in my long-skirted dress with flouncy lace sleeves. Did I not put on jeans and a white cotton blouse this morning?

The sunshine fades and I am aware of the damp stone walls that enclose me. I shiver and feel the stir of life. I place my hand on my stomach. No one knows. Yet. I hide it well. My Lord Elwyss hopes to get a son on me and marry me to claim my properties.  He will never have an heir from me as long as my dead husband's child resides in my womb.

For now, I am Lord Elwyss' prisoner. I need an opportunity to escape the confines of my quarters, to survey any possibilities.

"Is there not a garden where a lady may take a walk?" I ask him.

"There is naught more than a few scraggly herbs what the cook uses for stews and savory pies," he replies, hands on hips, looking me up and down with his shrewd calculating eyes. I was hoping for something poisonous for him. Or for me, if there is no other means of escape.

"I will allow a guard to accompany you."

I nod. I have not even thought where I will go if I can escape.

"Will you not at least bring me cloth, needles, and thread that I may sew myself a shawl or cloak to stave off the cold?"

He smiles at the opportunity to possibly soften my disdain for him--that I might willingly bed him.

Though he pretends otherwise, I know it is he who had my husband murdered and I shall not forget. My mind spins through plans of revenge and escape. The world is swirling around me. I close my eyes. It is not nausea but fear that grips me. I must save myself and my unborn child before time runs out.

A hand on my shoulder startles me.

"What are you doing sitting here in the dark, darling?" A deep voice asks. A light snaps on and floods the room.

I look up at this man. I look across the room at the mirror and the image in blue jeans and a white shirt. Who is she?  And then I remember and slowly I re-anchor myself. Oh, I could use that glass of Merlot now.

17 comments:

  1. Lots of changes here, but I especially like he change in time and space. Do we ever see our true reflection in the mirror, or in our dreams?

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  2. This is very well written Linda. I love the progression of the story, the changing patterns. The mirror was a great motif. Glad life worked out happily for her.

    As always, thanks so much for posting a flash for WEP.

    Denise

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  3. I like the changes in the story. They were used very well both as signposts to the changes in time but also as anchors of how she really was.

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  4. A time-shift story, love it! Mirrors can be fascinating, and I like the one in the image. Some of us like to imagine we existed in another time and place. Who knows? We don't fully understand time and its progression, nor overlapping universes. . .
    Enjoyed this and I like being transported to the past. . .

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  5. I enjoyed reading this...and the shifts and turns, Linda. The idea of multiplicity of consciousness is also intriguing.

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  6. Hi Linda
    We have the same title. I loved your story. I'm wondering if the blonde ended up in the future. Well written. I'll think twice before looking in the mirror.
    Nancy

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  7. Friday 26th September 2014

    Dear Linda,

    Is that mirror something you have at home? Great inspiration for a story - long or short.

    I love just this! You have written a superb little story. And so light-hearted and happy. The fairytale-details are spot-on! This is the exact opposite of my doom & gloom story.

    Great News!

    I have finally started reading your novel, Dreaming of Laughing Hawk and am on page 66. (I only started reading it yesterday, until I fell asleep in bed.)
    Your novel has a nice flow, that keeps me reading. It will be my companion for the next few days and nights.

    I'm so glad that you got your story published. You are indeed an excellent writer.

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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    1. Would love to have your feedback on my novel, Anna. I hope you enjoy it.

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  8. The idea of the time shift is well written and I love the way you incorporate both women into the story.

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  9. I'm thanking Denise for her choice of prompt this month because this was a wonderful, all consuming read. I was right in her worlds with her. You must write this! It would be a great novel... moving back and forth through time...

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    1. Hmmm. Maybe I should give that idea some thought. Thanks!

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  10. Beautifully written as always. The mirror as metaphor. Loved the fairy-tale/fantasy detailing. We see what we wish to see, sometimes more sometimes less than what we are. Made for a perfect read. My apologies for being late, Linda.
    Best,
    Nila.

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  11. Thank you all for dropping by to read my mirror-gazing story.

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  12. Wonderful premise, and so true that each mirror you look into gives a different reflection. What a wonderful inspiration. I have an antique mahogany blue glass mirror - I wonder what mysteries it holds! LOL
    Love reading your contributions, always!

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  13. Hi Linda, so glad to see your back on board for the WEP. I think Denise has come up with a great starting prompt with Spectacular Settings!
    Thrilled with the turnout and the promise of some amazing writing.

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  14. Lovely to read this again Linda. Great idea to post it. So glad to see you signed up! Can't wait for August 19!

    Denise :-)

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