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I'm stepping a bit outside my usual offering with this one, but the prizes (a FREE Wii™ System!, an iPod™ Nanos, and signed copies of THE BOOK OF NAMES, by D. Barkley Briggs of http://hiddenlands.net where you will find contest details) are just too big to ignore. So I emailed the author and asked if his book touched on true beauty in any ways. Here's Mr. Briggs' reply, along with a short passage from his book.
"The central theme of my book is about the power of identity, and where true identity originates. While the tone is geared more towards boys, I've heard from plenty of girls about how much they love the fantasy genre (as well as from their moms and grandmas who are buying it for them)."
The following scene involves Hadyn, the older brother, being captured by the Nameless. He is being hauled away in the hold of a ship along with many other Nameless/Lost, on their way to the island of the sorceress Nemesia. They go to her to forget themselves and their pain:
"I don't know what Kyra means. I just know I don't like it. I never have."
"Why? It's very pretty."
"That is why. I am not nearly so pretty as my name."
Hadyn, taken aback, quickly realized he needed to be careful. He did not want to risk offending whatever new friend or ally he had just gained. Kyra had smooth skin and bright eyes flecked with mischief not yet lost to Nemesia. Like all the Lost, she was dirty and worn, but most anyone seeing her would have thought her attractive. Not beautiful, but cute. And feminine, with a girlish, fluttering voice.
"I don't much like being a girl," she said, as if reading his thoughts. "Always guessing what other people think about me. I grew up watching the Revlon Cirque in Portaferry. Now those are women! So beautiful and graceful, with those huge feathers in their long, twirling hair."
"I'm sorry. I don't know what that is."
"The Cirque? Are you even from here? You talk funny."
"To be honest, I don't know how to tell you where I'm from."
"Well, everyone here loves the Revlon Cirque," Kyra smirked. "They are the most marvelous carnivale in all the world. Men desire them. Women envy them. Paintings of them hang in the streets. They are rich and famous." She lowered her eyes. "I do not have their shape, their face, or their fame. I never will. When I told a friend once how I wished I could be a Revlon, she laughed at me."
Hadyn spoke gently. "Not much of a friend, I'd say."
Kyra was unmoved. She pulled out a small round mirror from the folds of her gown. It fit in the palm of her hand. She gazed into it sadly. "That is only because you do not see what I see every day in the looking glass."
- from THE BOOK OF NAMES, by D. Barkley Briggs. Used by permission from NavPress. Copyright 2008, all rights reserved. www.navpress.com
So I leave you with this simple question... What do you see every day in your looking glass?