An Encounter With My Self

Monday, March 30, 2015

via pinterest
Hello my friends! Happy Monday! Over the week since the last writing-related post here, Rachel Heffington challenged her fellow authoresses to describe themselves as though someone found them in a novel. I thought it was a good idea - challenging me & giving you all something out of the ordinary. I'm not much good at introductions, so here it goes...

She was not the first person you would notice in a crowded room.

There were others, much more chatty, perhaps prettier, definitely more exciting, than the girl who sat in the chair along the wall, wrapped up in a book and with a look in her eyes as though she was in another place. Not here - not in this small, dingy room, tungsten lights that flickered every now and then, walls once white but now beige with use, floors that showed dirt between their cracks, chairs that rocked at squeaked. It was strange - she looked like she belonged somewhere much cleaner, somewhere with white walls and chairs and furniture and big, blooming bursts of flowers, and foreign rugs. The way she sat suggested something of confidence - an odd sort - with her upper back straight and legthening, her legs either crossed as the ankles and tucked under her chair, or folded in front of her, indian-style. He shoulders pressed back constantly - perhaps she was a dancer - and from time to time she would remember herself and pull up her lower back too in a funny sort of posture that could only have been practised.

Few people talked to her, but it wasn't for carelessness - she just seemed too invested in the words within her palms to be interrrupted; like she was at an important task, and the world would have to wait on her finish before beginning again. A few seemed a little afraid of her, too, but it seemed to me that was only the very surface of who she was. Perhaps she was more than intimidation and a posture of beauty. I decided to ask her.

"Hello." I stopped my stroll just a foot from where she was seated, and when she looked up inquisitively, tried to keep my face calm and encouraging. There was something in her eyes that sparked my curiosity.

"Hello," she responded, one eyebrow raised.
"What are you reading?"
She held up the book cover and I nodded approvingly.
"Have you read any others by him?"
"Oh, a few -" and she listed the titles; I stopped her at one that caught my interest.
"What's that one about?" As she described it to me, I noticed with pleasure she did not look back and forth suggestingly at the book, waiting to be read in her hands, as she did with some others I had observed. She did not mind talking - no, she wanted to talk, but she seemed to have a standard for her words perhaps higher than most who came to offer conversation.

"It sounds like a good one," I mused.
"It's one of my favorites."
"What are your other favorites?" For a moment she frowned, and bit her lip.
"It's hard to choose," she began, but as one title surfaced there came many others at its heels. I could see which ones she really loved: her eyes would turn off to the distant edge of the room, giving it a warm, knowing stare as though the book and its characters - perhaps one in particular, or perhaps the author - stood right there and shared the moment with her.
I knew now why some were afraid; she did not have light chatter or talk about the weather. When she spoke, she often interrupted herself once or twice before proceeding. She was full of words, overflowing with them, and those who could not take them stood by and watched at their distance. Those,who could take them, however, revelled in them; were brought warm within her embrace. She was out of the ordinary. She was bright.


I challenge you all to do your own verbal self-portait - be it 10 words or 200, be it in the comments or on your blog - and let me know where you've done it so I can see! And thanks again to Rachel for another fun challenge (you keep my hands full in the best way). 


  1. This is so cool! I think I'll have to try this.

    I like how your writing has a sophistication to it but also contains a curious lilt. It's like the writing itself characterizes you. I like how describe the way you sit and how some people seem intimidated by you although the narrator cannot see why at first glance. You also talking easily, but with purpose and substance. I like that.

    I show people my book cover too when they ask me what I'm reading. It's easier than telling them. But it's more that I'm trying to repressing my smart mouth, like I'm silently asking them, "Can't you read?" I try not to be rude, but my subtle questions are still there even if people don't catch it. Although there was someone who said she knows that even though I don't show it, I have an "inner sass."

    1. I really appreciate that, Ashley! It's hard enough to know f someone sees you the way you actually are; it's another thing to describe yourself accurately to the way other people see you - and of course, there are always flaws.

      I would love to see you come up with your own!

  2. This is a very accurate description of yourself. (Says I, not because I'm surprised that you know yourself, but to assure you from a Not You perspective that this is definitely you.)

    I'm thinking about doing this . . .

    1. I am glad to hear that! And you should definitely do this. I would love to see...

  3. Aw, so sweet! Great attention to details. =) I don't know if I could accurately do something like this. Part of me thinks I'd be too hard on myself, and the other half of me wonders if I'd paint myself in a less-than-real way. *shrugs* But this was so neat! I'd never thought about considering oneself as a character seen through someone else's eyes.

    1. Thanks, Tracey! I also struggled with the balance between accuracy and self-flattery/deprication. I cannot say it was an easy thing to write, only that it was interesting. And of course, if you do end up giving it a go, I would love to see the outcome. You can tell a lot about a person by the way she describes herself.

    2. You're welcome! It's a tricky thing, isn't it? I think you struck a good balance--positive details, neutral details, and details that might be considered negative by onlookers (some may interpret the excellent posture as snobbery, but that's definitely not true!).

      Thanks! I actually *just* launched my blog today, so perhaps I'll file this idea away to post at a later date. ^_^


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