That title is actually kind of cool, when you think about it :)
My challenge was something like this: " The way an author steps into another personality by donning another "hat" can be an effective tool for creative fiction, known as "Persona". Choose an article of clothing, wear it, and write a story from this perspective."
I had an hour to write my work, so don't be surprised out how rambling it is. My first drafts of anything usually are.
Forgive my overuse of the colon and dash ;) I was a little nervous
Mittens. Mittens with the thumbs stitched up with thick, green twine: bit through with the teeth and looped in at the ends. The mittens are old, musty, and I inhale a breath through their worn yarn: a smell like rain, like salt, like mineral. A chuckle bubbles up in my throat - or is it a gag - and I tug the mittens on again.
It is a bitter sunrise: the clouds a warped, grey mass that clings to the mountains with dark-boned talons. The mist bustles over the street, rising and twisting with loose-snapping jaws like water snipes blown in from the lake. I tremor and tuck my hands in the pockets of my jacket. It isn't cold, not really, but something in the shifting mists and insect leg shadows raises the hairs along my neck.
A clipped staccato of heeled shoes rings out and my neighbor skitters up to the bus stop. Her hair is whipped up in a frosty bun and the pieces of it swing out into her eyes. The hair makes her seems finicky, fussy, but ultimately unconcerned with the final result.
I mumble something into my scarf and smile. A low wind tugs at the loose denim around my ankles.
She stands, swaying and shivering. She scratches her arm.
I draw the breath-soaked scarf under my ching. "You look like there's something you want to say."
She flinches, turning and twittering, "Oh? Well, sure, yeah - kinda." She grins nervously.
I wait. The air draws in another breath and sprays it through the trees as thunder coughs miles away in the valley basin.
The neighbor-girl edges around to face me, her mouth working as if feeling for the words. "Do you know what it means?"
I pause, answer, "What does what mean?"
"It. What's it mean," she hisses. Her hands are clicking as she pulls the bones as if she plans to throw them and read her fortune across the road gravel. "I mean, you know things - right? - and I want to know things, too. I want to know what it all means."
I study her: the skinny jeans, fluffed jacket, and eyes heavy-hooded with color; the material of her ripples timidly in the real force of nature's breath. I clench my hands in my pocket, echoing, "'It all?' I can't tell you that. That's one heckuva questions to want an answer to."
Her nostrils flare and she squeaks, "You just don't get it, do you? You're just gonna keep it all to yourself - everything you know and not help help any other body out because you're a selfish, egotistical, cold-hearted - " her chest is heaving and I can hear the sputum rattle of sickness deep in her core.
The bus roars up like the foe of a medieval knight. Its yellow flanks sweat steam that it sprays out over the road and its lights set the mist snipes on fire. The neighbor-girl spits at it and climbs into its growling belly. I follow.
There is something strange about the light through bus windows. There is something in the way the window is muted that perverts the image passing under it. I find myself fascinated by the morbid distortion of faces, machines, and life: how the people strain under the light, hunched bodies and clenched minds, by their own stops. The people on their bikes, waiting for the light, are bent and formed into the metal as an extension of the self: himself with his shock-absorber legs, herself with her tire-round hips across the seat.
I twist my hands, the mittens, and worry at the threads coming loose again. Always coming loose again. Always again to be sewn up and patched together and drawn through into the approved shape. I tug the little covers off, over, off my hands again. The covers are shaped like little baby hats - protective, yet tender, and ultimately superficial.
There are things to know in life: how to sew up, patch together, and shape the world better again. Things are not to be trusted. Things must be patched together or they will fall apart - they will rat and hole and unravel at the edges if you don't tug them all back together, if you don't pin them, darn them, and snip the ragged ends away.
The frayed light scatters over the ceiling, little lost threads from God's sewing box. I pluck the fibers of my mittens, pulling the thumbs together again, and wait for God to start darning up the world.