Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I've never been much of a Halloween person, at least as an adult. Maybe it's because I can't eat the candy, maybe it's because my kids struggle with real terror every year as people they know change into monsters right before their eyes, or maybe I'm just plain boring. What ever it is, it's almost Halloween and masks are appearing everywhere--in the grocery store, at the playground, at writer's conferences. They even gave us some. Mine is a sparkly green one.

As the speakers at the conference talked about masks, I realized they were right. Writers wear masks. Lots and lots of masks. Every time I sit down at the computer to work on my story, I don a different character's mask. I may be a twelve-year-old boy fighting a dragon, or I may be an eighteen-year-old girl who sees the future, or even a really disturbed psycho who has way too many people's identities stuck in his head.

It's like these masks by Morgan Hersey:

Each one is different. Each one has it's own personality, history, and mood. And, for me, that's what happens when I write. I place the character's emotions, and history, and attitude over my own for a time. I wear them. I become them. At least if I let myself.

Sometimes it's hard to descend into someone's emotions. I mean, who wants to be a grieving father, or a love-struck palace guard who knows his feelings aren't returned? Sometimes I just want to take all the masks and put them in the drawer and just be me. But I always come back. Every time. Maybe I do like Halloween after all. Maybe I live it every day.

If you want to see more of Morgan's masks here's her website. http://www.masksbymorgan.com/


Carolyn V. said...

This is so true. Especially for us writers. Thanks for the link Leisha. =D

Jonene Ficklin said...

Amen. And the great thing about writing is you can explore so many personalities - legally - without the padded room. At least for a little while! : )

Cherie said...

Hmmm. I'll have to save my comments for the phone, lol.

LeishaMaw said...

Carolyn, ejoy you masks!

Jonene, avoiding the padded cell is a bonus. :)

Cherie, should I be afraid?

L.T. Elliot said...

Sometimes, I think I'm too accomplished at wearing masks. (Not in writerly talent--in life.) There's only one person with whom I'm completely mask-less and that's my hubby. It isn't to say that I'm a liar or that I'm not honest with people but that honesty only goes so far before you hit the shell that covers me. Okay, this comment is too twisty for such a great post. But it's a great compliment to you that you've got me thinking so much!

LeishaMaw said...

L.T., no comment of yours is ever too twisty, and yes, I know what you mean about wearing masks in real life. I do it, too. Hubby is the only one who knows the real me. Poor guy. I think it's levels of openeness. I'm completly open with him, not so much with the mailman, or even good friends. (But more so with them than the mailman.) :)


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