The Faceless Woman and Quiet Creativity

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I've felt quietly creative lately. On my bucket list, there is a section of creative goals. They include things like reviving my Creative Every Day project and finishing the draft of my long novel by the end of November, but these are all in motion rather than right here on the page. So, I want to dedicate Wednesdays to making my quiet creativity more public than private, in hopes that it will spur me to complete my bucket list parameters for this semester. And for you, dear readers, that means a little break from the literal and more of the artistic each Wednesday. Hope you enjoy it!

I was concerned when the faceless woman boarded the subway car and began walking towards me. I glanced up from my reading briefly and when I looked down again my eyes hooked themselves on individual words from the page, words like "stuck" and "craft," breaking the flow of my concentration. I wondered whether she wanted to talk with me, opening the conversation with that guttural sound I know too well. It's the machine, I know, but even if it facilitates their speech, I still detest the background gurgle, like water being poured into an empty jug.

She sat down next to me and folded her hands over her lap. I fought to read at a steady pace, but continued to plod through each word. "Specter." "Join." "Basking." I counted the stops left until my station. I could think of nothing but looking into her skin-covered face and having to make polite conversation.

I turned my gaze on the other passengers in the car, all of them gazing somewhere into the middle distance. The woman was the only faceless. My eyes hovered over her before returning to my book. "Gutter." "Mine." "Tragic."

The train stopped and the faceless woman stood up, heading for the train door. Several people were already entering and she attempted to move past them, but as she did, a curious thing happened. Two teenagers, a boy and a girl, tapped each other on the shoulder and snickered. They put their hands on her back in unison - and shoved her out of the car.

The faceless woman, unable to scream, fell wordlessly to the hard tile of the station platform. The doors closed and the two teens began to laugh. I looked for her through the train window and saw a jumble of body parts dusting themselves off. I closed my eyes and imagined an expression blooming on her face. Shock. Anger. Tears. The train picked up speed and pulled away.

Read more of my writing and about my creative process.