The Masked Writer: Camp NaNoWriMo Day 11

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 11

Seven months ago, my thoughts on masks were mostly centered on wondering how, in fiction, a piece of fabric covering a fraction of the face could completely conceal an identity. Regular people can become superheroes by putting on a mask. You can be two people at once.

Now with the pandemic, it still catches me off guard sometimes when I see commercials or stock photos promoting an activity without any outright mention of COVID, and the people in them are casually wearing face masks. It’s strange to think how societal behaviors can change so quickly!

In my day job, I’m now wearing a face mask often for almost eight hours a day. I’m glad to do what I can to keep people safe. It’s also making me feel like a character in a book – somehow I don’t feel like quite the same person in a mask, or at least that my perspective is different. It’s like I’m looking through a car window, even though it’s not my eyes that the mask obstructs.

Here are some lighthearted observations I’ve had about wearing a mask and customer service:

  • My eyes aren’t as expressive as I thought! I have to really squint to show I’m smiling.
  • In fact, there’s a lot of emotions that don’t come across. I need to work on using my eyebrows more, I guess!
  • I’m not as frazzled by angry customers anymore. They can’t tell I’m on edge as easily, and for some reason…that keeps me calm?
  • Complimenting mask design is a fun conversation starter!

Here’s an interesting writing prompt: you know how writers are always told to show their characters’ emotions with their face and actions, rather than naming the emotion they’re experiencing? Write a scene where 2 characters are wearing masks, and see how much the emotional cues change.

Daily haiku:

Behind a face mask
I'm any protagonist
Of any tall tale

Published by laurenhallstrom

Lauren is the author of two CIPA EVVY award-winning novels, both written when she was a teen. She writes contemporary fantasy for tweens and young adults. She holds an undergraduate degree in English at Colorado State University and currently works in a public library. More often than not you can find her there - promoting lifelong learning, staring off into space, and dreaming up new stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: