This prompt is from A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves: Write about a mirror. I wrote this on a writing date with two other women, one of whom wrote this prompt too. We wrote in two different directions. I listened to her after and thought, mirrors are rich for memory and metaphor. This here is from the other day, but I’ll likely revisit the prompt again and post more:
In the bedroom I shared with my sister, we had a narrow mirror framed in blue, nailed to our closet door. One night I was at my desk when Dad came in to talk. I turned around in the chair, straddling the seat. I kept looking at myself in the mirror: the slope of my bare thigh, the curve and cords of my calf. “Will you listen? Stop looking at yourself,” Dad said. I said I wasn’t. And he said, yes I was.
I looked at myself a lot. I leaned in to examine my pores. I stepped back and turned around, looked over my shoulder to see how jeans fit. I put my swimsuit on to see how my body looked, broken into limbs by a practical navy blue racer. I practiced my smile for yearbook photos. I tilted my head, parted my hair on the other side, put lipstick on that I didn’t wear out. I fogged the mirror with my breath and drew designs.
I still look at myself a lot. There are too many mirrors in my day: over the sink, at the door, on my visor; the plate-glass doors and shop windows I pass. I see myself full length and in parts. I mostly see myself in parts.
Your writing prompts certainly bring up some interesting perspectives. I have never really thought about what other people might see in a mirror and never really about what I see either. I know I have a habit of not looking closely. Of being too on-my-way-to-do-something to look too much. So much so that I miss things I should see and find later on (has my mascara been smeared all day?). What reflections might I find in contemplating this topic? Probably a lot of reality not meeting expectations. Which is why, I think, I don’t spend a lot of time looking.