Saturday, November 3, 2012

Look! I've Been Tagged!

Photo via Hawaii Kawaii Blog

My blogger pal, Suze, has tagged me in a game.  She explains the concept thusly:

For this tag, participants are charged with reproducing a scrap of a manuscript in which the word, 'look,' first appears and then passing the baton onto five other bloggers. I'd like to tag

L. Diane Wolfe
Michael Offutt
L.G. Smith
Charles the Reader
Heather Murphy

Participate only if you want to, make it as lengthy or brief as you like.  I look forward to your offerings. 

The thing is, I don't exactly have loads of manuscripts sitting around unfinished.  For the most part, blogging suits my writing style just fine - simple ideas in short spurts.  That said, I would like to publish one book before I ride off into the sunset.  As such, I am taking Suze's tag as a kick in the pants to get to work.  Perhaps this is the beginning, the middle or maybe a false start.  Time will tell.  For now, I plug my nose and jump in...

“How do I look?” she asks, self-assessing in the mirror.

“That’s a completely unfair question, you realize,” I respond, reclining on her bed.

“I know, every man’s nightmare dilemma – no possible answer that won’t get you in heaps of trouble.  Don’t worry.  I won’t ask if I look fat.”  We both laugh.  “I’m serious.  What do you think of them?”

“Think of what?”

“These blue hair clips.  I picked them up in Harajuku this afternoon.  I thought they looked cool.”  Cool.  It’s a word I barely understand. 

“Why do you care what I think?”

“You’re the one who’s going to be seen with me.  You’re a man.  You have opinions.  You must have some sense of style.”  We both know perfectly well that I don’t.

“You’re just going to ignore what I say and do what you want.”

She grins at that.  “Possibly.  I still want to know what you think.  Come on, we need to get going.”

What do I think?  I take in the whole presentation.  Soccer sneakers even though she doesn’t play.  Jeans that are non-descript to my eyes but probably exactly the right fit, cut, color, whatever.  The sort of soccer-style jersey I used to get as a hand-me-down in the 1970s but is somehow the height of fashion for teenage girls in Tokyo 20 years later.  Or maybe in London?  Both?  Neither?  She’s all woman underneath. But the outward projection is tending in a different direction.  She’s pursuing an ideal that even she seems to know she’ll never attain.  The hair clips, a translucent, junky plastic, are only part of the problem.  But that’s not what I say.

“You look like you’re about eight years old.”

“Okay,” she says.  In one swift motion, the clips come off, set on the dresser and already forgotten.  Was I too honest?  Is she hurt?  Offended?  Apparently not.  As soon as she got the answer she needed, it was as if the entire conversation had never happened. 

“Let’s go.”


  1. Well, that was a nice LOOK at your writing. Someone has been in this situation before! And there really is no correct answer for a man to give when asked the "do I look fat" question. So unfair.

    And I accept your challenge! I unfortunately have many unfinished manuscripts sitting around. :-/

    1. Thanks for stopping by. It is the impossible conversation but we learn a lot about each other in those moments. I look forward to your offering!

  2. Thank you, Squid! My latest is non-fiction so I'll be curious to see if I used the word very much in the book.

  3. “You look like you’re about eight years old.”

    He did *not* just say that! :D

    1. Oh, but he did. Funny things happen when we dare one another to be honest.

  4. Thanks for passing this on to me. I will be posting tomorrow.
    It was interesting to see "the conversation" from a male point of view, although 8 years old is a little harsh :) I don't think I have to worry about that one though.

    1. I never said he was perfect, either...

      I'll look forward to your post. Random Interruptions or the new blog?

  5. Ooh, I'm so glad there's more of these characters! I'm with Suze. He says all the wrong things! And yet, how refreshing. Imagine if he'd said the right things — yawn. I love that she is not, in fact, hurt: she wanted an answer, she got it, let's go. Neither character is at all predictable.

    Hope you continue with this one.

    1. Thank you again.

      In a separate conversation, Suze and I discussed how in literature, things change with grand events while in real life, the dynamics of a relationship turn on little things.