Friday, December 10, 2010

My face is melting, and that’s a good thing

Monday I told you about my visit to the Clinique counter to become a hooker.

That little trip was actually part of my new plan to take better care of my skin. I’ve had the same skincare routine since I was 12, and it recently occurred to me that a 36-year-old face might have different needs than a prepubescent one.

I sat down to do a little research on skincare and was dumbfounded by the plethora of products on the market – eye creams and anti-aging serums and facial firmers and something called acid peels. Really, acid peels? And people do this to themselves on purpose?

Eventually though, I selected some products. Then I decided that to truly monitor the “improvement in fine lines and wrinkles,” I should take a before and after photo.

I snapped one with the digital camera and hustled inside to print it out with the photo printer I’ve used exactly twice. I had no idea how to load it, so I took a wild guess.

I guessed wrong.

I somehow managed to print on the wrong side of the photo paper. If you ever wish to know what you’d look like as an alien, I highly recommend doing this.

The bright side of having my before picture look like that is that there’s really no place to go but up. In six weeks, I’ll be able to look in the mirror and note that my skin looks much healthier, mostly because it no longer appears to be melting.

I thought of this when a friend who’s fairly new to the writing scene said he’d heard most authors regard their first novel as drivel that must be completed before they can move on and start writing well.

Do I believe this? Yes and no. While there are some authors who manage to write something publishable on a first attempt, most do not. That doesn’t mean it’s a wasted effort, or that you should hit the fast-forward button on anything you write in those early stages of your career.

While admittedly I hope some of my earliest writing efforts never see the light of day, I like the fact that they exist. It gives me a chance not only to see how far I’ve progressed, but also to recognize that some of the skills that got me where I am today were actually there all along.

Do you look back at early writing efforts and cringe, or do you regard them with pride? Please share.

Oh, and if you’ve got any good skincare tips, I’m all ears. Well, the one that's not melting off anyway.

By the way, if you've ever wanted to see a picture of Pythagoras without a shirt, be sure to visit The Debutante Ball today, where we've been blogging about balance all week.


Linda G. said...

Gee, I can only hope I'd look that good in my "after" shot. ;)

I <3 my drawer novel. It's too long, has way too many POV characters, an extremely convoluted plot, and I suspect my villain is too nasty, but, by golly, I finished that sucker. If I can ever remove the warts, I may even try to do something with it.

demery said...

Lucky girl :) I'm still in the process of finding out if my first novel is publishable... but the encouragement to KEEP writing even if it isn't is a good thing for me to hang onto. I suspect that a lot of people walk away after that first big crushing discovery - that their firstborn story baby is loveable only to its author mommy.

demery said...

p.s. The lucky girl comment was in reference to the photo of Pythagoras. Do you feel you have to walk around all day holding in your belly?

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I wish I had good skincare tips, especially because I've tried everything, including Proactiv, prescription meds, and over the counter stuff like Clearasil. Nothing really works for me. As far as first novels go, I'm just glad to have completed one. I don't know if it actually is publishable, but I figure it's good practice.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I guess if we are talking about the first novel I wrote when I was 13, then yeah. It was pretty bad. The first novel at 46? Well, the jury's still out on that one!

Alexa O said...

I've never written a novel. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was in high school. Depending on my mood when I re-read it now, I either think "wow, that's pretty good for 16" or "I should really burn this."

But mostly, what I think when I read my teenage poetry is, "Thank god it didn't stay that hard."

Because "angst" is an understatement.

When I evaluate my writing now, I try to think not in terms of good or bad, but in terms of whether I did what I set out to do. Did I tell the story I wanted to tell? If not, I start over. If yes, then I'm finished with that piece (short stories) and I move on... even if nobody else tells me it's any good...

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write a short story about a melting face.

Jason said...

Are you sure that wasn't me you were talking to about the first novel thing? Okay, probably not, but that was my reaction when I first hear such an idea as well.

Really? Just write it to write it?

I haven't written my first - yet - but I can't approach it like that. If I do, it will never get done. You have to approach it with optimism and let that get crushed later. :)

Danica Avet said...

LOL, you always make me laugh! And I came to the conclusion last year that I really needed to start taking better care of my skin. I have *looks around* fine lines...EEP!!

Sarah W said...

My first novel was written in a unicorn notebook with pink sparkly ink. It had halflings in it. And horses who were part of the clan.

I'm currently writing a book about a team of ex-cons. It has adult humor and a little B&E in it, and I'm pretty sure the MC isn't going to ask the princess of the Kynryders to be his girlfriend.

You might say I've moved along with my demographic.

Yep, nothing says maturity like taking notes on gunshot abrasions with a gold sparkle pen in a David Tennant notebook.

Unknown said...

You should send your before and after pics to the product's marketing team! They'll love you and your beautifully repaired face**

**results not typical.

Michelle Wolfson said...

Hmm. I look forward to your results. My long-time favorite lotion was recently pooh poohed by the makeup man in favor of their outrageously priced face cream. But admittedly your skin looks better than mine in that picture. Wait, let me rephrase. Your skin looks less dry than mine.

Delia said...

I'm giving my first novel all I've got, but I know that it won't be as well written as what I write in the future. At least, I hope not, because that would mean I'm not learning and improving and how depressing would that be?

As for skin care, I like Olay. It's relatively inexpensive, works well, and doesn't bleed into your eyes. That last part being the most important. Commercial over.

Laura Maylene said...

My first novel wasn't quite ready for prime time, but I still look back at it fondly and can see some merit in it.

Some of my earlier ("earlier" can mean 10 years ago or 10 days ago) make me want to gouge my eyes out....for others, I can recognize how they might represent a success for me at that point in my writing life.

Ryshia Kennie said...

I keep a file that every once in a long while I go through. It's my history as I evolved from childhood to adulthood. Some of it is cringe worthy, some of it shows promise but it's years of writing - short stories, essays, non-fiction, fiction you name it as I fumbled to find my way and finally sell.

Now the skin care thing - I'm still working on. In my very early years I used a vinegar/salt/flour paste - fortunately I've grown from that! Now, I hop from one drugstore product to the next. So I guess I'm up for suggestions too.

Suzi McGowen said...

Alpha Hydrox. It's got 10% Glycolic AHA in it. It costs about $12 to $14 (for 6oz, which lasts for several months) at

I love that stuff.

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Abby Minard said...

Well, I'm still on my first attempt at a "real" novel, so we'll see where that leads me.

As far as skin care- I've had acne since I hit puberty, and I'm 29 now and still have it. So I use Cetaphil to take my make-up off, proactiv for my acne (a scrub, toner, and medicated lotion), and then use neutrogena combination skin lotion after. Works pretty well for me. I don't use any firming or under-eye stuff yet- mainly because I don't want to pay a boatload of moneyf or a small tube of something I'm not sure will work. But I may try some under-eye stuff soon- I get pretty dark circles. Good luck, and hope your face doesn't melt off!

Claire Dawn said...

It's 9.27 pm. I'm in a hostel. Trying not to cackle and wake the ppl around me.

Tell me why I keep reading this blog in places I can't laugh. :S

Natascha said...

My first novel...hmm...a disaster. I spent over a year trying to make it perfect, but there was just no way to save it. I learned a lot! But my second novel is the one that taught me the importance of craft. That first novel will never see the light of day, but I'm sure proud that I even finished it :)

Anonymous said...

Hi!! Ended up here from the comments section Anne Allen's blog. Enjoying catching up on your posts. Anyway, to answer the question in THIS post, YES, I literally wince when I read old stuff . . . stuff I even sent to agents. Blech!

Gina said...

I recently discovered Ponds Morning Refresh and Evening Sooth Towelettes. I've started laser hair removal on my face (I'm 75% Sicilian, pretty sure the last quarter is yeti) and between the treatment itself and having to now shave every other day or so(my dearest Tall One was very understanding when I explained to him that he'd have to teach me the fine art of taking a blade to ones face without lopping parts of it off) portions of my face have decided to revisit puberty. After coming to the sad realization that I was treating my 32 year old skin the same as I did at 13 (Hello, Mr. Clearasil, nice to see you again) and this was maybe NOT the best idea ever, I tried those towelette things. My skin is breaking out less, it's getting rid of the breakouts faster, and over all, my skin's looking pretty darn good.