A short train ride, an hour-long stop, a long train ride, some metro, RER trains, a bus...it was going to be a long day. But what could I find as inspiration on this trip? What would my little eye spy?
Across from me was a lovely Frenchwoman in her sixties. Well-dressed in a camel pantsuit, heeled pumps...and a beautiful tattoo on the top of her foot. I wondered when did she get it and why. (I did this sketch on the corner of the manuscript I was editing.)
Another woman, a plump grandma, wore small post earrings in a triangle of piercings on her lobe: a four-petaled flower, a gold owl and a leaf with a pearl hanging from it. Was the owl was a favorite animal or did it symbolize something to her?
The woman in her late fifties beside me had no ornaments, just a watch in navy plastic. She wore beige, her graying hair was severely short, her fingers were undecorated - no rings or feminine nails. But her scarf was silk watercolors. And her smile was warm.
I thought about what I could deduce about these women from their appearance. What things might show the real her, what things were incidental, or even choices that were put upon them? Were these women mature enough, confident enough to be true to themselves, even in their ornaments? Would my mother of pearl and wood bead necklace from the Philippines and my African swirl earrings tell something true about me? As a writer, what jewelry might my characters wear and what would it say about them?