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Image Credits: Derick G

For those of you who don’t know, a few months ago I joined the NJ Writer’s Group. This is a group of individuals that meets about twice a month at the Margaret Heggan Library in Sewell, NJ. The group is open to anyone in the area I believe ages 16 and up. We meet in a library conference room and discuss writing strategies, book publishing, and other related topics. Sometimes we even have assignments.

For our January 12th meeting our assignment is to write a 1-3 page story using an inanimate object as the main character. This is certainly a unique and challenging assignment. Initially I wanted to use this exercise as an excuse to get back to writing my crazy cheese story I started back in college. However, I realized that story is far too advanced and complex now to be able to tell a part of it only 1-3 pages. I decided it was best to start over from scratch for this new project.

Writing short stories has always been a bit of a challenge to me. I am a novelist by nature. 1-3 pages is hardly enough for me to complete a single thought. I knew if I was going to tell a story in 1-3 pages, I’d have to focus on one main even or scene. I began to brainstorm some ideas and came up with the idea of a story about a couple’s first date — told in the perspective the woman’s makeup products.

I began to think about the kinds of things women would ask each other after a first date, things that people would assume, and why a woman might wear makeup for a first date and if the products could talk, what they’d say. The biggest thing that came to mind was sex. Many men and women will go on a first date and wonder if they’re going to have sex. Friends will ask if the new couple had sex, or when they’re going to have sex. Women may use certain makeup products to draw more attention to themselves to increase their chance of receiving sex.

I didn’t like this way of thinking. As a Christian, I didn’t want to write a story about sex.

But I did just that. I even made one of my main characters a stripper.

As I grow closer in my walk with the Lord, I have had a stronger and stronger desire to use my talent, or my writing skills, in a way that glorifies and honors the Lord and brings his word to his people. That was my goal with writing this story. I don’t have the impression that most of the members of the NJ Writer’s Group I intend are believers. I have the ability to bring the Lord’s word to them. It may be the only time they hear it. I took advantage of this opportunity.

I write about sexual immorality and promiscuity in my story and why I believe it to be biblically wrong. I even quote Galatians 5:19-21 which states:

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I am taking a huge risk with this story. It is unconventional and likely not at all what the group will be expecting, but if it brings the word of God to the people, it is well worth the risk, regardless of whether they like my story or not.
I’m not entirely sure how well I followed the directions for this assignment. I intended for Roxxy’s lipstick, Ruby, to be the main character, but I feel like instead I ended up with Roxxy as the main character and the story simply being told by her makeup products — Ruby the lipstick, Violet the eyeshadow, and Maxie the mascara. Making inhuman objects main characters is so different from what I’m used to and much more difficult that I anticipated. However, I really appreciated this assignment because it forced me to be much more creative than I normally would be and to “think outside the box”.
You can read my story below. Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think!

Seeing Through the Eyes of Truth

                “You’re home early,” Violet remarked. She was wedged inside her home – a red plastic makeup bag .

“It’s not that early — it’s 9 o’clock”, Ruby replied.

“You guys are never home before midnight anymore,” said Violet.

“Roxxy didn’t seem like she wanted to stay out very late tonight”.

“That bad, huh?” Violet snarled.

“No, it wasn’t bad — just…different.

                “Okay, tell me everything. Where did you go? What did they talk about?”

“Well they just went out to a diner. Nothing fancy at all. It was pretty quiet.”

“That doesn’t sound at all like Roxxy. This was just the warm-up, right? The calm before the storm?”

“What do you mean by that?” Ruby asked.

“Roxxy isn’t a diner kind of girl. She’s either a “wild night out at the bar”, or “expensive luxury dinner” kind of girl, or both. Usually both. And quiet? Pfft. As if.”

“Yeah…but like I said…she was different tonight. It was just a quiet night at the diner. There was hardly anyone there. All I could hear was them two talking and some faint music in the background.”

“What did they order?” Violet asked.

“Nothing major. I think he ordered a hamburger and she just had one of those wrap things. And coffee. They drank a lot of coffee,” Ruby replied.

“No alcohol?”

“They didn’t even sell it,” said Ruby.

“Roxxy going out on a date and not drinking? That’s a first!”

“Well, she didn’t really have the option. Jared picked the place.”

“She could’ve left”, replied Violet.

“She didn’t want to. She was really into him. They had a nice conversation going.”

“Well, what did they talk about?”

“Lots of things. It was really quiet so they were able to talk a lot. They actually had some deep and meaningful conversations.”

“About what?” Violet inquired.

“Religion mainly. He seems like a religious guy.”

Violet burst out laughing, clearly in disbelief.  “No way. I don’t believe it,” Violet said in between bursts of laughter.

“No Ruby is one hundred percent correct. I was right on top of her lashes the whole time. I saw that she was really into this guy,” said Maxie.

“See! I told you!” said Ruby.

“But this is Roxxy we’re talking about. Roxxy is as far from being religious as you can get. Did everyone forget, Roxxy is a stripper.”

“Yeah, normally. But like I said, she was different tonight.”

“Did he know she was a stripper? Usually, that’s the whole reason guys ask her out…” Violet stated.

“Oh he knew alright.”

“But he didn’t take her home like all of the others do?”

“No.”

“Was he blind? Deaf? Stupid? All of the above?”

“No, he actually seemed like a really good guy.”

“So what exactly did he say about religion?”

“Actually he used it to talk to her about stripping.”

“Really? How so?” Violet asked with wide-opened eyes, clearly stunned by Ruby’s response.

“I…I don’t know. He recited some bible verses. Lectured her about being prideful and causing people to sin. Something like that.”

“Galatians 5:19-21”, Maxie replied.

“Wait, what?” Ruby and Violet replied in unison.

“That was the verse,” Maxie replied, “Galatians 5:19-21: ‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“How do YOU know? Violet asked.

“I was there, unlike you,” Maxie replied, plus Roxxy opened it up in her bible the minute she got home. I was still on her lashes; I read it with her.

Violet pouted before replying, “I don’t know why you and Ruby got to go tonight and I didn’t. Ruby didn’t even do her job tonight and I don’t know why she’d use mascara over eyeshadow…you really don’t do anything anyway.”

Maxie and Ruby shook their heads and rolled their eyes.

“She didn’t need you. She wanted to be more modest I guess.”

“Then how come Ruby still got to go?”

“Can’t answer that for you, but I can ensure you she stayed in her assigned seat tonight. Her date didn’t have a single lipstick stain on his shirt collar.”

“She really didn’t kiss him at all?”

“Nope. And I don’t think she will anytime soon.”

“Is she even going out with him again?” Violet asked.

“Yeah actually he mentioned bringing her to church on Sunday,” Ruby replied.

“Since when does Roxxy go to church?” Violet inquired.

“Since meeting her new boyfriend, Jared, and getting right with the Lord”, Ruby replied.

“Wow. This sounds serious. Do you think we’ll be replaced?”

“I don’t know. She seems determined to put her stripper days behind her, and fast. Hate to break it to you, Violet, but I think you’re already on your way out the door. Her dark violet eyeshadow was always just part of the act. But don’t feel bad, I’m sure I’ll be right there behind you.”

Violet never got the chance to reply. Before she knew it Roxxy reached into her red plastic makeup bag. She pulled out both Violet and Ruby and tossed them in the trash, saving only Maxie. She no longer wanted to cover her eyes or draw attention to her sinful lips. She needed only to keep her eyes popped wide open to see the truth that has always been right there in front of her.

 

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