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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mirror, Mirror on The Wall By Holly Searle




I love The Brothers Grimm. The initial tales that they wrote were an ironic reflection of their name, as they are far from elementally pleasant.

And just like life itself, the original stories contain dark aspects that are wince worthy and brutal. The Disney adaptations of these classic tales, whilst being quite emotionally manipulative, do not feature these horrific elements. If they did, all of the small children that ever watched them, would have nightmares.

No, those interpretations more often than not, concentrate on a protagonist who has been subjected to some social wrong doing, which is resolved in their favour before the credits roll.

In the tale of Snow White, a magic mirror that cannot lie creates an air of vanity and pride so tangible, that the request is given for a child to be removed and slaughtered.

But the child is spared.

The magic mirror is bound by the truth, and continues to reiterate the fact that the child is still alive.

In the end, driven mad by the answers to the questions asked of, and delivered by the mirror, its owner is forced to face the truth with dire consequences.

Mirrors play out all sorts of social scenarios in both myths and in reality.

In vampire stories, the mythical beings have no reflected image as they no longer have their souls. This infers that what we see when we glaze at our image, is the truth about who we are.

I have a friend who often uses the analogy that he can look in his mirror and know that he is happy with his reflection as it shows a man who is truthful and honest, and who has no hidden agenda.

In the classic British portmanteau 1945 horror film Dead of Night Peter and Joan Cortland acquire an antique mirror that houses an alternative world, with the main objective of luring them in. In the end the mirror is broken to avoid their absorbency into this dark reflected reality.

And even in popular culture the mirror has been used by Michael Jackson in his 1988 song Man in The Mirror to make the social comment that in order to initiate change, he must starts by taking an honest look at himself in his mirror.

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
He sings.

On a daily basis we use mirrors to check that what we see reflected back at ourselves is an acceptable image of who we are.

That image changes over time unlike the picture that Dorian Gray kept stored away in his attic. We see these subtle changes occur as the years pass by at an alarming rate, and sometimes we are happy with what we see, and sometimes we aren't.

But what we see is the truth of who we truly are. Sometimes there are those that ask too much of their mirror and find its truth too raw. And not unlike the owner of the mirror in Snow White attempt to dispel what they are told by altering their image by taking drastic measures.

Or there are those that do not believe in themselves and cannot see their own humanity.

Or those that see what they choose to see.

Or those that need to take an honest look and change their attitude.

I see who I am when I look in the mirror, and just like my friend, I am happy with the image that is reflected back at me.


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