Monday November 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: beauty.

Spent a good chunk of this morning working on Kat's counselling website, as it is time for her to begin focusing on that area now that she's a bit more settled into her teaching job. It's mostly done, just a few tweaks here and there remain to be figured out. Looking forward to seeing it go live after all the hard work she's put in.

Once that gets sorted... I might actually have to get back to working on my Nanowrimo novel. That I wrote in 2009.


Her mother told her every single day that she was beautiful. Without fail. She could not escape the house in the morning without hearing those words.

And she meant it, too. Her mother was telling the truth. She could tell when she was lying. Like when she picked at her nails while talking about how excited she was to have the neighbours over for dinner on Saturday night. Or the way she stared at her daughter's right eyebrow while saying anything nice about her own mother, never quite making eye contact.

The words were very nearly ingrained in her skin. They felt like an extra layer of armor as she walked along the sidewalk. One more piece of protection against the harsh and cruel world that lurked beyond the comforting walls of home.

Some days she would repeat it to herself, over and over like a mantra. She would begin to believe them, fully and truly. A smile might sneak its way onto her lips as she entered the school grounds.

And then she would see Chloe Harris headed her way, with those vile words carried in both hands like poisonous darts always ready to be hurled without warning, and her defenses evaporated, leaving her naked and shivering in the cold.


Greg said...

Kat sounds like she's doing three jobs at once there, with the teaching, the counselling and looking after you and Max! Having seen your other websites I'm sure you've done a good job with this one too; I hope we also get to see it :)
Ah your 2009 vintage novel... I think I may remember it ;-)
I like the way you build up the character of the mother here, even though she's technically peripheral to the punchline. It's kind of obvious how essential she is to the child, and that makes the punchline much more effective, in that she has to face Chloe on her own. Really interesting, and very nicely written.

It had been a long battle and the walls of the dungeon, once damp and coated with mould and slime, were now dry, glowing red hot in places, and scored deeply. The floor was mostly covered with soot, and the ceiling had holes that led into darkness. Jo-elle was dead, her head and torso wrapped in blue ice that had crystallised out of the air around her, and Gerlach had a repeating memory of her backing off, shaking, trying to resist the effects of the magic before falling over. Kimchi was sat on the floor shaking her head from side to side, her eyes reddened, her once-pretty button nose flattened across both cheeks and her lips like a pancake. Gerlach was pretty sure that something had deafened her.
"Sweet Lolth," said Dianne leaning on a broadsword whose blade dripped with rainbow-hued ichor. "Does a beholder have to have beam weapons from every eye? Surely evolution must render some of them redundant?"
Gerlach looked at the corpse: the beholder was mostly spherical with a single large eye at the centre of its body. Nine flexible stalks protruded around its circumference, coated in a tough, corrugated tegument and terminating in smaller eyes. Somewhere underneath it was a sphinctered orifice that it used for eating. Its body was now criss-crossed with suppurating cuts, and two of the eye-stalks had been severed.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say," said Gerlach. He pulled a thin-bladed boning knife from his belt. "Which eye do you reckon it is?"
"You can't be serious," said Dianne. Behind her, Kimchi sighed and toppled over onto her side.
"This one's got... sloth," said Gerlach, shouting over the squelching noises and trying to keep his feet out of the squamous humours now gushing over the floor.

Anonymous said...

My morning routine consists of such:
I shower to make my hair shiny,
Scrubbing my skin with scented beaded gels,
Removing any unwanted hair,
Adding scented chalk under my arms,
Brushing the water from my hair,
Crimping the strands into tight curls,
I apply concealer to hide the bags
That have been slowly encroaching under
My eyes, I dye my lids with color powder,
Line their outlines and plump up the lashes.
I then try and pick from my obscene amount
Of clothing to find the perfect match between
Comfort, appeal, and practicality.
I then run my fingers through my hair, adding
Volume to the curls I worked so hard to make.

All this so that a man might give me a lingering glance?
All this so I might feel like I deserve to be wanted?

I am better off sleeping in to stop the torturous
Progression of those bags. I’m better off
Finding a man that can appreciate the raw product,
Not the dolled up fa├žade.

Lily Wilson said...

She always knew, what beauty is. The feeling of cold raindrops, when they fall on the warm skin. The sound of old piano from the living room. The smell of the apple pie.

She was born blind, but still she could see the beauty.

Marc said...

Greg - is it only three? I could have sworn it was more...

I can tell you enjoyed yourself while writing this one. Such delightfully icky details :)

Ivybennet - yes, a thousand times yes, to your final stanza. That is all.

Lily - welcome to the blog! Thanks for dropping by and sharing your writing with us.

There's a lovely sentiment to your piece, and I'm left looking forward to seeing more of your writing here :)