Write Your Story

A New Mirror

I won a boudoir sitting in a raffle at the AofWe lunch meeting. The entire room burst into laughter.  Me, who never wins so much as a pencil in raffle giveaways, was the winner of the “get naked” prize. Great. I told Maureen, the photographer, that boudoir “isn’t my thing” — so could we do a glamour shoot instead? Sure. I’ve had pictures taken before, and I’ve looked into the mirror a gazillion times in my 42 years, so I was positive I would see the same Tara when I picked up the proofs.

What I didn’t take into account is that the mirror is a two-dimensional reflector and I was forcing it to be a three-dimensional reflector. I was imposing the story beneath the surface: the missed opportunities, the heartbreaks, the failures, and the rejections to the face in the glass. As a result, my vision was clouded; this 3-D picture became my story.

Maureen has this way of sizing up her models from the inside, out. Her relaxing smile, the cozy studio filled with music, and her ability to capture your soul—the very essence of who you really are, not who you think you are—and print it on paper, is a gift straight from God. When I saw her artwork in my portfolio, I was shocked and brought to tears. My husband commented on how relaxed I looked.

Through her graceful lens, she showed me that the story beneath my surface had changed, healed. She captured the triumphs, the confidence, the relevance, the joys, and the successes. The reflection I had memorized from the mirror was so etched in my mind that it took Maureen’s printed picture to see that I had it all wrong.

As an editor of books and articles, when I edit personal stories I see the mirror the author holds, the story she thinks she knows. I encourage the writers who come to me to see that there is something underneath the carefully crafted words that is more beautiful and magnificent than the neatly smoothed surface. We all have a story to tell; let’s just be sure it is accurate. Thanks, Maureen, for the new mirror.

Tara Schiro is the owner of http://www.WriteWithGrace.com