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The Big Bad Travel Story

16 Dec
The face of an entire trip.  photocred: Katherine Black

The face that launched a thousand misfortunes. photocred: Katherine Black

Let’s be frank with each other: we all have a Bad Travel Story.  You know what I’m talking about – the I-was-stuck-in-the-airport-for-48-hours, got-malaria-and-was-in-critical-care, had-my-everything-stolen-by-gypsy-children kind of story.  The one one you take turns telling on Thanksgiving, or the one you have on reserve to impress people at parties.  I have never been particularly patient with Bad Travel Stories, since it seems like most people exaggerate them (“and then we were attacked by a hoard of ravenous dingos!”) or are being a teeny bit whiny (“and then we realized that our hotel room didn’t have a private espresso machine!”).  However, after one of my more recent travel experiences, I not only have a Bad Travel Story of my own, but came away from it with some surprising conclusions.

My friend Katherine and I had been looking for a weekend getaway: something smaller and more picturesque than Valencia, maybe colder and more autumnal.  We chose Cuenca, a town an hour outside of Valencia by high-speed train.  Nestled on a steep hill, with its famous casas colgadas (hanging houses) clinging to its edges, Cuenca is one of Spain’s national heritage sites.  But el día de todos los santos, a Spanish holiday on November 1st when most Spaniards go back to whatever pueblo they’re from to visit their families, meant that all the hotels were booked.  Our only option?  Rent an apartment for the weekend.  And why not, we figured?  The apartment company had okay ratings on bookings.com.  What could go wrong?

There was, of course, a good deal that went wrong.

Perhaps thinking that we were lesbians because we attempted to book an apartment with one bed, the company ‘upgraded’ us to another apartment.  Except they conveniently forgot to tell us where it was.  Also that the front door didn’t open without kicking it.  Also that there was no heat or hot water.  (And may I add that it was about 30 degrees in Cuenca that night?)  But, to our great good fortune, we happened to ask a particularly helpful local for directions.

“Eh?  Rincón de Malu?” he said, scratching his thick, white beard.  “Don’t know where that is.”  And before we could stop him, he had banged on all the doors in the vicinity.  “Hey!  Anyone know where Rincón de Malu is?”

A woman in curlers stuck her head out the window.  “Nearby.”

Another woman, this one clutching an icon of the Virgin Mary, said, “The next street over.  I’ll help you with the door.”

Katherine and I spent the evening cuddling and watching the first Harry Potter movie in Spanish.  We slept in the same bed anyway, piling all the blankets from both beds together to keep warm.  (Take that, homophobic rental company.)

The next morning, I was awoken by the rental company calling.  “Your debit card number didn’t work,” said the woman on the other end.  “Give it to us again.”

I blinked, groggy.  “Um.  Only if you cancel our other two nights here.”

“Give it to me or I’m calling the police.”

I shot out of bed.  “Woah.  Okay.  That is not necessary.”

Despite everything, Cuenca was...actually really pretty.  photocred: Katherine Black

Despite everything, Cuenca was…actually really pretty. photocred: Katherine Black

From her rapid Spanish, I gleaned that she’d give us our money back if we left by 9:00.  It was 8:50.  We threw our clothes in our suitcases and dragged them up the narrow, cobbled streets of Cuenca to the bar where we’d been promised free breakfast.  There was, of course, no record of this when we arrived.

“That’s okay, though!  You’re wearing a Valencia soccer club scarf.  Have some toast!” said the restaurant’s owner.  And he plunked two plates of bread in front of us, chattering as we pulled out my laptop and bought new return tickets to Valencia for that night.

“You all want to leave your luggage here?” he asked.  We nodded, grateful, and he whisked it away to a back room filled with entire legs of jamón.  From there, we left to take advantage of our one day of sightseeing.  We went to the Cuenca cathedral, filled with gorgeous panes of modern stained glass.  We walked down trails lined with fallen autumn leaves.  We visited the modern art museum and pondered what a clump of steel wool glued to a canvas meant.  (Our favorite work of art: a square canvas, covered entirely in gray paint, entitled “Gray Square.”  Changed our way of looking at the world.)  Then we picked up our bags from our cheery friend the restaurant owner and headed back to the train station.

However, because this was November 1st, there was no one there to print our tickets.  We climbed onto the train anyway, exhausted.  When the ticket-checker came by, we explained our situation.

“Just give me your names and I’ll call the operations center,” he said.

“Elizabeth.”

“Eli – what?”

“It’s not a Spanish name,”  I said.  “E.  Liz.  A.  Beth.”

He looked at me balefully.  “Why couldn’t you have been named María?”

“I…don’t know?”

“You know what?”he said, shaking his head.  “Just stay.”  And we slumped back in our seats, relieved.

But, to put the proverbial cherry on top of our sundae of misfortunes, the train pulled up short an hour outside of Valencia.  There was, we learned, a train strike.  We were shunted onto the metro system instead.  Katherine and I wandered, lost, until two men (they introduced themselves as Juan the Valencian and Gonzalo the Colombian) kindly took us to the right stop.  The next metro didn’t come for an hour, so we sat on top of our suitcases, trading jokes in Spanglish.  Gonzalo gave us cookies.  When the metro came, they both kissed us on the cheek and wished us safe travels.

Katherine and I still haven’t gotten our money back.  We probably never will.  But what we do have is a swell Bad Travel Story, even more unique because we chanced to meet so many generous people.  And we also learned that a) life tends to turn out okay (as long as you take the advice of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and DON’T PANIC), b) we love the smell of police threats in the morning, and c) wearing a Valencian soccer club scarf will make you friends everywhere you go.

“Did you at least have a good time?” my host mother asked when I got home at 1:00 A.M. that night.

“Did I ever,” I said, and fell asleep in my chair.

Katherine and me in a rare moment of put-togetherness.

Katherine and me in a rare moment of put-togetherness.  photocred: Katherine Black

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The Tragic Ballad of Mittens and Bam-Bam (Or: Why I Might Vote Jill Stein)

8 Oct

By John Cole.

When I started this blog, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to touch the subject of politics with a ten-foot pole.  Put the words ‘politics’ and ‘Internet’ together and you get nasty images of caustic, passive-aggressive Facebook posts, ill-informed rants floating around the comments sections on news sites, and complete strangers cyber-bickering about candidates whose platforms they don’t (or won’t) understand.  And all of us have been that person, right?  At one point or another, all of us have let some post or another get our blood pumping so hot that we let go of our judgment and let fly with something stupid.  I didn’t want to be that person.  Not here.  “No,” I thought, “politics and writing don’t mix.  Not here, at least.”

Then I realized how absolutely ridiculous that statement sounds.

Neruda

The consummate face of the voice of a generation.

Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature and also ran for the Peruvian presidency.  George Orwell made political statements with every piece of journalism and every novel he published.  While writing with his green fountain pen about spring and the cherry trees, Pablo Neruda also occupied multiple positions as a Chilean diplomat.  Politics and writing go hand-in-hand.  You can’t become a good politician without recognizing the power of every word you speak.  And if you’re a poet or novelist, your work has to fight for something – it has to struggle for change – or it has no meaning.

Going to a high school for government and international studies, I’d like to think I learned a thing or two about how to evaluate American politics.  But (and I am ashamed to admit this) sometimes it’s just so hard.  Getting bombarded by attack ad after opinionated talk show after smear campaign creates a slipstream of facts and fiction that can take hours to decipher.  Where do the facts start and the fictions end?  When I watched the first presidential debate last Wednesday, I pulled up Politifact on my laptop and frantically checked statement after statement as Obama and Romney’s measured voices washed over me.  Over the course of that hour and a half, my mood slowly sank as I watched the candidates squabble almost mechanically.  They interrupted each other.  They interrupted the moderator.  And half the time, they just couldn’t finish their own sentences.

This post isn’t about what exactly they said.  I’m not going to talk about whether I agree with their tax plans or Obamacare or Social Security.  Rather, I want to talk about how they said it.

Of Bickering, Bravado, and Big Bird Butchering

Call me idealistic, but I expect any candidate for the presidency to have a basic familiarity with manners.  One of the roles of the POTUS is being the chief diplomat, for chrissakes.  I’m not looking for the Webster-Hayne debate or anything, but I feel that it’s rational for the contenders to treat each other with respect.  I don’t want the dog-and-pony show of the primary debates – I want actual political discourse.  And, more importantly, I don’t want Kanye West and Taylor Swift at the VMAs.  When Obama whines “I would have had five more seconds if you hadn’t interrupted me” and Romney petulantly interjects later on with “virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate,” I am reminded of my ten-year-old brother arguing with his friends about whose Minecraft server is better and who absconded with whose good Pokémon cards.  These are the men to whom we will entrust our international affairs.  If they can’t speak civilly to each other and to the moderator, then how can we expect them to conduct deals with other nations that may hold radically different views?

Evidently not.

That’s not the only issue I have with the debate, though.  Both candidates cloaked their meanings with vague phrases and misleading facts, spinning and framing the statements they were trying to make.  Watching Politifact’s Twitter feed, I saw article after article pop up revealing that the candidates were fudging the truth.  Obama saying that 50 million people would lose their health insurance if Obamacare were repealed?  Mostly false.  Romney claiming that Obama doubled the deficit?  False.  Obama stating that Romney’s plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut?  Half true.  Romney retorting that pre-existing conditions are covered under his healthcare plan?  Mostly false.  “It’s like the campaigns are driving 100 miles an hour on a highway with a posted speed limit of 60, but the patrol cars all have flats,” said Mark McKinnon (a Republican ad manager for previous campaigns) in TIME magazine.  Again, none of us are looking for perfection in our candidates.  That only leads to disillusionment.  And, again, this has been going on for the whole campaign season; it didn’t just start now.  But I think that most of us would rather they rely on the strength, eloquence, and validity of their own platforms rather than tear into each other.

The Pull of Perot

This election year, along with the usual feelings of “I want to crawl into a nuclear bunker for the next month/move to Europe/become a Canadian,” I actually feel like I’d rather vote for a third-party candidate.  Yeah, that’s right.  I’d rather vote for Jill Stein.

When I off-handedly mentioned this to my mother over breakfast yesterday, she speared me with a look of horror.  “But Elizabeth,” she said, “you wouldn’t want to waste your vote in your first presidential election, would you?”

“I’m voting Perot,” interjected my eccentric ginger of a father.

And you thought Obama had memorable ears.

“Honey, Perot isn’t on the ballot.”

“I’m voting Perot,” he repeated.  “Write-ins, you know.  Write-ins.”  And he sauntered off to the living room in all his gingery, iconoclastic glory.

As much as I am loath to admit it sometimes, my father did have a point.  Third-party candidates don’t get nearly the attention and media coverage of their Republican and Democratic counterparts.  They’re running not because they were the most politically advantageous choices of their parties, but because they are passionate enough to believe that one day, if they just push hard enough, they could take the presidency.  But they face the dramatic problem of achieving the fifteen-percent threshold in polls to appear in debates.  Gary Johnson and Jill Stein (and Ross Perot, much to my father’s chagrin) weren’t invited to speak alongside Romney and Obama.  However, from what little I know about them from their debate on All Things Considered, they appear to be more eloquent, more committed to honesty, and more enthusiastic than to hem and haw their way through a bleary ninety minutes.

But I won’t be able to verify that, since they’ll never show up in a debate.

If there’s a point to all this, I suppose it’s that I’m disillusioned by a two-party system that would champion rude, untruthful candidates while shoving others who may be just as driven and intelligent by the wayside.  All my life I’ve been told that voting for anybody but the Republican or the Democratic option will result in my vote being thrown away, as if I had never exercised my right to vote in the first place.  But how can third-party candidates ever gain any traction if we all continue to believe that?

I’m starting to get a little too politicky for my own good, so I’ll wrap this up with one last thought: if I don’t see any change in the behavior of the major competitors, I may just throw my weight towards Jill Stein.

And, bless my father’s nonconformist little heart, he may manage to throw his towards his beloved Perot despite it all.

Did you watch last week’s debate?  Do you agree or disagree with any of the third-party candidates?  What do you think?  Post in the comments section below!  (In a civil manner, please.)

The Study of a Disassembled Room

20 Aug

Part of the Monday Musings collection

Trying to pack nineteen years of living in one city into a few boxes and duffel bags is more difficult than I had imagined.

I started cleaning out my bedroom a few days ago in preparation for moving to Charlottesville, where I’ll begin as a first year at the University of Virginia. Neatness has never been a strength of mine, and my drawers and closet brimmed with a jumble of ill-fitting clothes, books I hadn’t read in years, and mementos whose significance I couldn’t remember anymore. Adele’s honey-smooth voice poured out of my iPod speakers, filling the corners of my room with the lyrics of “Hometown Glory.” On the piles that topped my desk, I discovered a shirt whose hem I had half-altered a year ago, some stale-smelling Victoria’s Secret perfume (and to think, I used to scorn people who bought the stuff; apparently I own a bottle), and programmes from every theater production I had appeared in during high school. Wedged in my closet were a wealth of objects: old jewelry, half a pair of flip-flops. A clumsy painting of a rabbit from middle school. A gauzy purple shirt I had always admired but never worn. A Greek urn in miniature, its sides adorned with thickly-outlined men whose chins jutted like spears. A gift card to Barnes & Noble that I had never redeemed. In my nightstand drawer, I came upon heaps of yarn and dusty string from my knitting obsession from fourth grade. Next to it was a pile of shells, reminding me of my old obsession with conchology (when I was eight, I asked for nothing but mollusc shells for Christmas).Under my bed I found a binder full of old geography and Spanish tests from sixth grade. A picture on the front reminded me of the time when I refused to cut my hair and parted it exactly down the center so that blonde tendrils swept in front of my face, obscuring it.

I’ve never found it easy to distinguish between what I should keep – what truly holds significance – and what I should throw out. This week hasn’t made it any easier.

I used to be intensely proud of my book collection. Packed into a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf that dominates my room are over three hundred books, ranging from Interview with a Vampire to Lolita to a few Star Wars tie-in novels. Yesterday, I sat down in front of the shelf with a few boxes in hand. I ruthlessly tossed any book I hadn’t read in two years into the bags, then carted them up to my dusty, dreamy attic. Then I ripped posters of Alexander McQueen and Iron & Wine from the walls. I bundled up bags of clothing I had bought but never worn.

I have dissected and neatly boxed up my Richmond years, which are all I’ve ever known. What I couldn’t bear to part with will either accompany me to college or has been tossed into the trash can. Waiting on the floor to be packed into the van on Friday are new sheets, cleaning supplies, a vacuum cleaner, a surge protector. On Saturday, I will cart them up to a 12′ by 11′ room in a city that is not Richmond. I will parse the walls from the floors from the standard-issue dorm furniture, learning the anatomy of this new place. I will construct photo montages and fresh arrangements of the books I’ve brought with me.

I will enjoy college. I’m not sad to live in Charlottesville. But nineteen years in one city are a lot to let go of.

* * *

And now for something completely different – I want to make a reeeaaaaal quick announcement about interviews with a few of my insanely talented writing acquaintances.  Rich Larson, who writes all sorts of snazzy speculative fiction, has been interviewed here at Underwords.  Peter LaBerge, the seventeen-year-old mastermind behind the glorious Adroit Journal, was similarly interviewed here on Figment.  They’re both wonderful writers, so take a gander at their words of wisdom!

And a wonderful Monday to the lot of you.  Thanks for stopping by!

Why Video Game Writing Makes Me Swoon

13 Aug

Part of the Monday Musings series

I have something to admit: I like video games.

I am not a hard-core gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do.  I like them.  And I like some of them a lot.

I am the first to admit that I likely do not fit the stereotype of someone who plays video games.  I routinely wear makeup, know how to carry on a conversation, and am even somewhat adept at dressing myself (no pleated pants and ill-fitting t-shirts for me, thank you).  I don’t sit in my parents’ basement, hunched over my computer and maniacally jamming the WASD keys as I grow attuned to the darkness like some cave creature.  (Few people who play games fit that cliched image.) Also, I am a girl.  That seems to throw a lot of people.

More seriously: also, I am a writer.  And I like video games because some of them actually have good writing.

The pinnacle of game writing. Clearly.

In conversation, most people seem to dismiss video game writing with a wrinkle of their noses, as if I have just declared Fifty Shades of Grey to be the next Booker Prize winner.  Video game writing is supposed to be vile quality, filled with nameless lunkheads shooting the socks off anything that moves (and often anything that doesn’t), scantily-clad damsels in distress, hackneyed fantasy or sci-fi worlds, and terrible, terrible dialogue that all sounds like it was lifted from Attack of the Clones.

And I’ll admit, that can sometimes be true.  But I have found just as many memorable characters in games as I have in books, movies, or plays.  Characters, as the venerable Shrek once said, should have a lot of layers.  Like onions.  You’d be surprised how many video game characters and plot arcs have enough layers to make them so engaging that people play the titles over and over again.

My first game with an actual story was Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic.  Set 4,000 years before the Star Wars movies, it had a cast of characters I found that I cared about.  My ten-year-old self was entranced by the Jedi Jolee Bindo’s wisecracks about Wookiees, Mission the young street urchin’s daring and occasional foolhardiness, and the sarcastic assassin droid HK 47’s quips about killing…well, anything.  More to the point, I could hardly fathom the scope of what I was playing.  Here I was, shaping and controlling the person who would save the galaxy.  I molded his morality, chose his dialogue, and watched the implications of his choices play out across solar systems.  When The Big Plot Twist (you will know what it is if you have played it) came, I think I actually fell off my chair.  Then I cried.  (I was ten, okay?)

The characters that first made my little heart swoon.

The next game franchise I encountered was the Elder Scrolls series.  They’re known for their amazing graphics – rolling hills of volcanic ash, craggy mountains covered in snow, a quiet sunset near a seaside town – but their characterizations aren’t too shabby, either.  In Oblivion, my character joined the Dark Brotherhood, a clandestine organization of assassins.  Honestly, the Dark Brotherhood was more like a cult than anything: they could be summoned by a secretive blood ritual and lived alone in a dank underground lair.  They even worshipped the god of evil and death, for chrissakes.  But here was the kicker: all the members of the Brotherhood were smart, talented, and welcoming.  Gradually, my character came to feel more at home in a den of killers than she felt anywhere else.  If that’s not good writing – to let your character fall under the sinuous sway of such an inherently evil cult and hardly even realize it – then I don’t know what is.

But by far, the most memorable characters – by that I mean the most human and the most flawed – are those from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles.  Let’s take, for example, the companion and alien Garrus Vakarian from the Mass Effect franchise.  In the first game, he’s a wayward cop who doesn’t want to play by the rules and can act far too impulsively for his own good.  But by the third, he has learned when to be a leader and when to be a follower.  Over the course of three games, he has sharpened his sense of morality, and he ends up becoming a pillar of support for the player character as he/she attempts to literally save all sentient life.  (Although he never does finish those calibrations.)  And did I mention that he has a delicious sense of humor?

Can it wait for a bit? I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”
Tell me you wouldn’t hit that. TELL ME.

Garrus has a legion of fangirls, and for good reason.  Although he looks like someone threw a cat, a komodo dragon, and a peacock into a blender, he’s managed to convert thousands to xenophilia and send thousands of panties flying.  The reasons?  His warm, down-to-earth voice acting, his snappy, sarcastic dialogue, an awkward but endearing romance, and a layered back story that exposes a good deal of his species’ culture (he’s got that whole Shrek-onion thing going on).

Then we’ve got Dragon Age‘s Oghren.  It’s hard to pick a favorite in terms of good writing out of such a stellar cast that includes characters like Sten, Alistair, Leliana, and Zevran, but there’s a reason I chose him (other than the fact that he’s probably the most quotable character ever made).  Everybody’s favorite foul-mouthed, flatulent, and constantly drunk dwarf also happens to be far more complex than he lets on.  This pint-sized, hairy ginger comes from an intricate caste system in which he used to be a promising warrior.  However, after his wife, a brilliant smith who was a heroine to the dwarven people, deserted him, he turned to drinking.  Oghren was eventually booted from his House and stripped of his weapons.  During the course of the game, he goes from a whiny drunk looking to pick a fight to a man who has regained his confidence and pride.  And he does all this while firing off the funniest one-liners ever written.  Like Garrus (but to a much greater extent), Oghren’s marvelous writing depicts a character demoralized by the culture he’s from while revealing key parts of that culture.  His journey during the game is both physical and mental, and his heartbreaking encounter with his wife provides the sort of emotional catharsis that makes a character arc feel real.

“Well, fart me a lullaby!”
Oghren also has fangirls. But for different reasons.

So when you stack up these kinds of video games against other genres of storytelling, I’d say they do pretty well.  The characters are just as complex.  The quality of the dialogue is higher than most Hollywood blockbusters.  The plot arcs are, if not the most original, at least suspenseful and exciting.  As a writer, all this combines to make me feel like I am immersed in the worlds these games create – and that’s exactly what they should do for everyone.

Now, am I going to ditch all my writing dreams in order to throw myself at Bioware and beg them for an internship?  Of course not.  (…well, maybe not.  Bioware?  Bioware, are you listening?)  But characters like Garrus and Oghren have certainly given old favorites like Han Solo, Merry and Pippin, and Tyrion Lannister a run for their money.

Tyrion is unimpressed by your silly video game characters.

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree about the quality of game writing?  Did I write about your favorite character, or did I miss someone?  And, most importantly: what’s your favorite Oghren one-liner?

In Defense of Makeup

6 Aug

I am an unapologetic makeup addict. In my bathroom are cheap Target containers overflowing with enough beauty products to choke an elephant: gem-colored eyeshadows, a sunset’s array of lip glosses, and eyeliners darker than Sharpie ink. The pearlized containers are embossed with the kind of names that you can suck the marrow from, rolling them around in your mouth until you’ve absorbed the fluidity of the words. Guerlain. Nyx. Estee Lauder. Revlon. Tarte. And we haven’t even gotten to the shade names yet. Lipsticks with sobriquets like Russian Red or Bombay seem to contain a thrilling seed of the places from which they take their names. The shocking green of a Graffiti eyeliner or the iridescent white shimmer of Polyester Bride delight me. In my spare time, I surf beauty blogs like Christine’s Temptalia or Karen’s Makeup and Beauty Blog to figure out how to apply the latest trends in beauty.

But what I truly love about makeup is its power to transform. In fifteen minutes I can go from my normal appearance to a 1950s pin-up vixen with a flick of liquid liner and some matte lipstick. Or I can draw a line of electric blue on my lower lid and revel in the satisfaction that such a pure, forceful blue gives me. Each day, with a tap of the brush, I am someone different. Each day, lips painted incarnadine or fuchsia or simply left bare, I am playing a new part. For me, makeup doesn’t shackle me to any standards of beauty we may have. Instead, it frees me.

The Story of Makeup

I’m not the only one to feel so enthralled by beauty products. Cosmetics have been in use for at least 4000 years, so I can’t be the first to fall under their sway. Jezebel, that harlot queen whose name I’ve always found gorgeous, painted her face in 2 Kings, a book of the Old Testament. Egyptians lined their eyes with breathtaking blues and greens the color of the Nile River Delta in springtime. Chinese royalty stained their nails silver or gold from as early as 3000 B.C. European women plucked, waxed, and redrew their eyebrows and their hairlines as thin as the blade of a knife.

In the early 1900s, as the film industry took off, so did makeup. Stars as diverse as Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, and Katy Perry wouldn’t be able to achieve their iconic looks without its aid. Now makeup is, in my opinion, omnipresent – women or men can use it or not, and expect little judgment either way.

The Significance of Cosmetics

A Rainbow of Eye Shadows

A Rainbow of Eye Shadows (Photo credit: cybertoad)

I don’t seem to be the only one who holds these views, though, and I am constantly surprised at the rancor of those who think differently. In Target, a gaggle of college boys once stopped me to tell me that my red lipstick and dramatic purple eyeshadow was “slutty” and that they “wouldn’t pay five dollars for me.” Lilac lip gloss, according to one of my classmates, was “ridiculous.” Flared eyeliner, said some of my friends, made it look like I was “kind of whorish.”

Perhaps I’m behind the times, but in this modern age, when did wearing vibrant makeup become directly correlated with one’s sexual promiscuity?

I’ve seen countless sites and beauty counters that promise to match you with your ‘perfect eyeshadow shades’ or your ‘Holy Grail lipstick.’ But I don’t believe them. Just because I happen to have cool-toned skin doesn’t mean I’m going to wear all cool-toned products. Just because I have green eyes doesn’t mean that I’ll only wear earth-toned shadow. If I did, I’d only wear spiritless pink lipsticks and a sprinkle of bronze on my lids. Don’t you think I know that bright orange lip gloss perhaps doesn’t suit me the best? But on the days when I wake up to see the incandescent sun rising over sharply outlined trees, and I think that I want to take a little of that radiance with me, I will.

So when I wear my cerise-colored lipstick with a swipe of tar-black liner, I’m not asking for someone’s approval. I’m not particularly concerned if I’ve ‘overdone it.’ With every shade I add to my face, I act a new part. I delight in wearing hues like Aquadisiac and Girl About Town. And I enjoy the liberty it allows me.

I’ve decided that on Mondays, instead of posting poetry or fiction, I’ll talk about my personal thoughts instead (although all three of those things essentially come from the same place.)  If you like this sort of writing, check back on future Mondays to see what else I’ll manage to come up with!

Also, if you have any opinions on makeup, I’d love to hear your comments!