Luce on Appearance, with Commentary--Sarah Porter

For the theme of appearances, I thought I'd let Luce speak for herself. The following comes from the as-yet-unpublished third volume of the Lost Voices Trilogy: a scene in which my mermaid heroine Luce, exhausted and battered by a run-in with a school of Humboldt squid, collapses under a dock and later wakes to find a small human girl touching her shoulder:

           Chrissy watched her while she ate, clearly fascinated. “You’re so pretty. Even with bites
 in your face.”
Luce didn’t feel like smiling anymore. “That’s just because of magic, Chrissy. How pretty I am.” The adoring shine of those warm brown eyes made Luce sad. “You shouldn’t take magic things too seriously, okay?”
“Because magic can trick you. You shouldn’t let it.” After all, Dorian hadn’t. He’d called her enchanted beauty “freakish.” That was all she was to him.
“You’re not trying to trick me,” Chrissy murmured uncertainly.

Luce isn't the first girl to experience her own beauty as a burden, as something that chafes against her private sense of self. Think of the pained, self-ironizing humor of Marilyn Monroe, who rendered the perfection of her own beauty into a kind of desperate mockery-- because she was too smart not to realize that it was only a kind of magic. A "glamour," as they say.


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