J.D. Salinger has been attributed to saying, “It takes me at least an hour to warm up when I sit down to work. Just taking off my own disguises takes an hour or more.” Which I take to mean that before Salinger really started to write each day he had to first shed all the various sides of himself, all his personalities, all the voices that constitute himself. And once he was rid of himself, or out of his own way, then he could begin to write from fictional voices that he couldn’t influence.
In any case, I came across this quote a couple years ago (after Salinger died; I think I read it first in this New Yorker tribute) and it’s stuck with me ever since. And today I was thinking about disguises and thought, What quicker way to shed oneself and become someone else than to put on a disguise.
And so, today’s prompt is this: See if you can find a mask or wig lying around your house. If you can’t find one, either make one or buy one. Even a very simple mask or cheap wig will do. Then, once you have your mask or wig (your disguise), put it on and sit in front of the mirror for a while. Imagine who this character is in front of you. Where do they live? Where do they work? Do they work? How do they speak? What do they like? Hate? Love? Maybe try on a voice or two. Speak to your reflection, to your disguise. And when you feel as though you’ve found the character, know your character, then begin to write in this character’s voice.