Saturday, September 18, 2010

Writing with Waterproof Mascara

Ahhh…Maybelline Great Lash® Mascara. A true classic and basic staple for most women. And to think it’s been around for almost 40 years, according to a magazine advertisement I came across the other day. That iconic pink and green tube helped transition many girls from their tweens to their teens; those same girls who likely shed a mascara-laced tear or two during those hormonally imbalanced teen-years.

Those days are long gone for me and, since then, I have sometimes paid $10 - $20 for mascara I was told would transform my look (umm…I have never really had a ‘look’ but…whatever).

I was promised THIS mascara, with its high-tech wand and revolutionary formula, would plump, thicken, lengthen, and strengthen my ever-batting eyelashes. I was assured THAT mascara would make my eyes look bigger, wider, brighter, younger, and bluer. And of course, I would look thinner, younger (again!), sexier and ever-alluringly more mysterious.

And none of them worked.

I am not a ‘Vogue-esque’ kinda girl. I am just simple little me. I am just a mom, just an employee, just a writer.

And I still do, occasionally, succumb to the ever-trending, ever-increasing promises I know deep down will never come true, and try something different – something new.

Just to say I tried. Just to know I tried.

And sometimes I end up going back to the basics; the classics. What I know works - for me.

Good ‘ole Great Lash® Mascara, every time.

As a writer, I try to branch out and try something new; a new idea, style of writing, or genre of writing. I work at being brave, ignoring that inner-critic. And I figure trying something new has to be good for all writers – for anyone. It’s important to flex those creative muscles, to try something else, and see how far you can push yourself in your writing and in your creativity.

But what about those times when a project just won’t work? When no matter what you do, or how you do it, it just won’t work the way you thought it would? Do you have a fit, cry and wail uncontrollably, then give up and quit? (If it makes you feel better, do have a fit, but do it privately and wear waterproof mascara.)

But for the love of mascara, whatever you do, don’t give up! Just put it aside – for now.

It’s common for a writing project, or idea, to fall flat and loose its steam. DON’T THROW IT OUT for God sake! You spent time and effort writing your heart out; there will be something in there that can be used one day, in some way. Try it again when the timing is right. Rework it; reword it. Maybe you need to wait for a renewed sense of direction. Thoughts, tastes, and abilities change.

Go back to the basics – to what you know – for now.

Like that tube of $20 mascara that was too clumpy/flaky/chunky/dark/light and basically just didn’t fulfill its promise. Unless it gave you an eye infection, DON’T THROW IT OUT for God sake! You just spent $20 on the darn thing! Put it away in the bottom of your make-up bag or at the back of your bathroom cupboard (but not behind the calamine lotion – you might forget it’s there). One day, maybe, you might try it again (or you might be out of Great Lash® and need that $20 tube in a pinch!)

Go back to the basics – to what you know – for now.

As for the 40th Anniversary of Maybelline’s Great Lash® Mascara? The creation fell into make-up bags everywhere in 1971, and hasn’t stopped enhancing eyelashes since. A tube is sold in drugstores every 1.7 seconds, according to Maybelline® of New York (, and is always on hand, backstage, at fashion shows.

Not bad for a little tube that usually sells for around $6. There’s something to be said for the basics.


  1. Mascara – what a great metaphor for writing!
    You've given me some food for thought here, Lisa, and a reminder to go put my game face (Maybelline, of course) on.

  2. See's the little, often unexpected things, that all relate to writing! Gotta love that Maybelline! Thanks for reading. Lisa