Eyes! I See Eyes!

I have a thing about eyes when I write, and I blame it on my sister.

In the first draft of my stories, my characters gaze, stare, glance, look, scowl, frown, and glower far more than any reader needs – or wants – to know. They do so piercingly, intensely, assessingly, steadily, unwaveringly, and in many, many other ly fashions. And they usually do so in full color, as well.

…her silver gaze …

Her steady, pale-blue gaze met and held his.

She looked into the emerald depths of his eyes…

Notice I actually managed two references in one on that last example? Sigh. Now, I understand that it’s natural to notice people’s eyes when we’re speaking to them, but it isn’t natural is to consciously think about it all the time. The way I apparently do when I write my first draft and eye references crop up a good eight to ten times per page. I’m obsessed, I tell you.

So what does my obsession have to do with my sister? When we were little (I think my sister was about five years old), our parents left us in the care of a babysitter who allowed us to watch a movie called The Man with the X-ray Eyes – or some such equally scintillating name. Anyway, at the end of the movie, the guy rips his eyes out of his head because he can’t stand his ‘gift’ any longer. Well. Suffice it to say that no five-year-old should EVER be subjected to that visual.

My sister and I shared a room at the time, and for the next two weeks at least, I was awakened nightly by the screams: “Eyes! I see eyes!” She was convinced she could see eyes floating in the dark of the room – heck, by the end of two weeks, I was beginning to see them floating there, too. She eventually got over the trauma – or maybe sleep deprivation kicked in and she just couldn’t bring herself to wake up out of the nightmare any more – but the memory has stayed with me all these years. Given the obsession that has surfaced in my writing, one might even say I’d been psychologically scarred by the incident.

So you see? It really is my sister’s fault. 🙂



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