|Mine were complete with rhinestones. Lovely!|
I remember squinting, pulling one eye and the other, trying to make out the meaningless hieroglyphics that were scrawled. I remember the feeling of shame - I was going to fail the lesson, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Perhaps some teachers would have ignored the struggling student in the back. Wonderful Mrs. Laige, however, stepped in and told my mother I needed glasses.
A few days later I was taken to the eye doctor. I chose a horrible pair of pointed plastic frames (this was the sixties, so you can just imagine the horror) and was given my first pair of glasses. Spectacles. Glazing cheats.
|You can see the original here at deviant net. This perfectly captures my world before glasses.|
The first time I put on my glasses, the world rushed up to smack me with clear focus. I couldn't believe the difference. To go from a fuzzy universe which, as a child, I thought was simply the norm, to crystal clear vision was a revelation. I could read the board. I could see the expressions on other kids' faces as they talked. I was able to go to the movies.
Those with perfect vision cannot, perhaps, understand that moment. In a split second, I was given a new life. Yes, that sounds melodramatic, and yet - it was true. Not being able to see properly is murder on a very shy young girl.
The third book in my Crown Phoenix series is seen from the perspective of an older girl who goes through the same thing. She is very poor, and her Edwardian world offers no nice Mrs. Laige, no rescue from the shadows that surround her.
To write from Lizzie's perspective was a joyful challenge. She had to guess at what was going on or rely on constant updates from her sister, Ninna. I couldn't cheat and tell what was happening on the other side of the room - Lizzie wasn't able to see it.
When she is finally presented with a pair of eyeglasses - glazing cheats - by a boy called Toby, it is a miracle for her. She can't believe that she is able to see what is an entirely new world.
I love my shortsighted, bespectacled heroine, and I related to her more than any other character, perhaps because we both went through the same "Passage" - that miraculous journey from fuzzy darkness to clear vision.