Over the course of a typical day I see myself a lot of different ways, and I'm not even being introspective here. I'm being literal. I'm talking mirrors. Those suckers are everywhere.
I even have a favorite mirror. (Yeah, I do realize that's weird. Bear with me. It's Monday.)
Knowing me as you do by now, you might naturally assume my fave is a fun house mirror. Those do make me laugh, and I love to laugh. Here is a simulation of what I might look like in a fun house mirror:
But, no, it's not my favorite.
It's not a magnifying mirror, either--those send me running the other way, screaming in horror. Here is a simulation of what I quite possibly really do look like in a magnifying mirror, though I can't be sure, since magnifying mirrors scare me so much I have to shut my eyes:
It's not even the huge mirror in the master bathroom, the one that's directly opposite the bathtub, so I can't help but see myself naked as I emerge after a shower. (Which isn't as horrible as it might be, because that one fogs up easily, plus I'm terribly nearsighted, so everything is fuzzy until I put my glasses on or my contacts in, anyway.)
Here is a simulation of what I look like in my fogged up bathroom mirror:
My favorite mirror is the one in my downstairs powder room. See, that mirror is kind. Thoughtful. Friendly, even. Maybe it's just a trick of the light, but I swear it erases the lines around my eyes, turns my hair totally blond again, makes my lips and cheeks rosier and my teeth whiter. I'm pretty sure, if I adjusted the angle of it downward, it would also shave five pounds off my ass.
Here is a simulation of me in my favorite mirror (notice how it captures my bad-girl sauciness even as it displays my *cough* innate inner sweetness and light):
*sighs* I love that mirror.
But does it show the real me? Any more than the hideous, horrible, very bad magnifying mirror does? Nope. It shows a version of me I happen to like, but it's no more "real" than any other mirror.
Something similar happens when I reread stuff I've written, only it's my mood that alters what is reflected back to me. The same way different mirrors distort my image of the physical me, my mood on any given day can warp the words on the screen.
Mood #1: Everything is Rainbows and Puppies
This is pure euphoria, akin to how you feel when the dentist gives you a whiff of laughing gas. I read, and am in awe of my own brilliance. I know better than to trust this perception, but I try to enjoy it when it happens, since it's rare.
Mood #2: The Black Acid-Rain Cloud of Doom
Other days I'm astounded by the enormity of the dreck I have produced, and wonder how I could have ever thought I had an aptitude for the written word. Huh. More like craptitude. I suck, you suck, the whole world sucks. Let's all have a great big suckfest, and suck eggs together. No, wait. That idea sucks. (Fortunately, this one is rare, too. Sadly, not as rare as the elusive Rainbows and Puppies, but still.)
Mood #3: Life Ain't Half Bad
...is probably the most reliable. This is the one where I can read, noticing things that could use some improvement, but still remain, for the most part, satisfied with what I've produced.
What's interesting, when I really cogitate on the matter, is that all of these moods are useful to my writing. Lord knows I need those rainbows and puppies to keep me afloat sometimes. The black acid-rain cloud of doom serves to keep my writing from getting insipid--you really have to experience all kinds of awful moods and emotions to write them with any authenticity. I mean, too much sugar gives you the written equivalent of cavities and diabetes, and who wants that?
As for my normal "life ain't half bad" mood? Well, that one just keeps me (and the people I live with) sane. ;)
Now, pardon me while go rearrange the words in my WIP. But first I think I may gaze at the powder room mirror for for a while...