When I was young, I used to look at faces. A lot. To try to understand the secrets, there. To understand what was different between the younger among us and the older. I watched faces because, being an auditory learner—before anyone understood what that was—that’s what we do.

That habit has translated into the writing.

How the face tells what the words don’t. How the face tells the opposite of what we claim to feel. How exhaustion and joy and love translate from the unseeable electricities in our heads to the muscles and shadows we present to the world as expressions.

As writers, we are students of human interaction. Of emotional motivation. We see what we see. And we see what the inner eye sees. We store it inside, because it means something; because we treasure it in its richness. We set ourselves outside things and people to find what is truest about them.

I don’t believe that eyes are the mirrors of the soul. At least, I don’t think that adage goes far enough. Eyes, expressions, are our momentary access to what is universal among us.

Being a see-er: It’s an isolating thing sometimes. And a challenging one.

As a writer, how we describe a character from the inside out? How we evoke a physical appearance clear without ever describing it? And why do we keep doing it?

That wide-open nerve ending that our personalities become (or were they that all along?) is a two-way channel to something bigger than we are. Now all we have to do is figure out what that something is.

 

Advertisements