Thursday, 19 March 2009

Dressing Table

At the latest Sapphist Writers meeting, we did an exercise inspired by a reading night at Chesterfield Library from the short story collection Some Girls' Mothers. The authors had tried this exercise themselves to generate ideas for their stories. The original exercise was to describe your mother's dressing table, but we widened it out. It can become a very deep and personal examination of someone's character; a surprisingly powerful exercise. One of our new members (who wishes to remain anonymous) produced the following freewrite:

My Dressing Table

My dressing table sits under a long dark mirror.
It is there every morning looking just the same, no matter what.

My table has had other people's things on it over the years: butterfly night lights, ashtrays and a gold T bar necklace, but now everything on it is mine.

A film star is centrepiece. She is named Luscious Lana and comes with me wherever I go.
She has within little magic pots of dazzling gold and concealer to hide blemishes, sadness and just plain tiredness.

A battered wooden box plays stage to my scented bottles - an Angel star, an Agent Provocatuer burlesque pink porcelain bottle and minimalist Prada for special days.

Twenty years ago I wouldn't leave the house without at least a half hour routine plastering on make up to hide the real me from the world.

One year ago my dressing table was a symbol of the 'Lady' someone else created for themselves.
Now it is mine to use when I choose. Or not.

Some days after drying my hair and a spray of deoderant I walk past the glamorous B star's lusciousness and smile.
My beauty is within. For all the pots of magic silver and gold could not hide an empty vessel.

And as my Prada nears the end of its life, mine is just beginning. The real me. Not a B star movie actress or someone else's vintage Lady.

Just an ordinary me.

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