Friday, May 31

Lipstick on a cup and other memories by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers


"Flowers in the city are like lipstick on a woman -- it just makes you look better to have a little color." - Lady Bird Johnson


Several months ago, I put on makeup to go out and realized I looked better with it on. Nan and I were off on a weekend soon afterward and did a little high-school-freshman shopping at Walgreen's or CVS and I added to my cosmetics supply. On her advice, I even started wearing eye shadow. I'm still not good at it, but I'm getting better. Whether I like to admit it or not, the truth is that when I look better, I feel better. That being the case, I wear makeup nearly every day, even if I'm not going anywhere. The roommate likes me in it, too, and mentions it, and while I don't think I'd wear it for that reason alone, the "new look from an old lover" doesn't hurt.

A few days into my makeup-wearing adventure, I looked at my coffee cup and saw lipstick on its edge. My first thought was, I'll admit, "Yuck," and I grabbed a napkin to rub it away. My second thought was of my mother-in-law, who left lipstick on every cup she drank from and, more importantly, on everyone she kissed hello or goodbye.

In short, lipstick was part of Mom's telling you she loved you. I think of her every time I see my "Tickled Pink" lip print on my cup. And I leave it there.

You might wonder, and rightfully so, what lipstick smears have to do with writing romance or women's fiction. The only time the prints show up is on murder mystery covers or if a wayward husband is having an affair.

But my kids grew up with their grandma's lip prints on their foreheads and their cheeks. It is a memory that has a place in all our hearts. It gives joy to me each time I look at the pink spot on my cup.

As an author, this is what I want to give to people who read my stuff. They don't have to remember all my titles, protagonists, or story lines. They don't have to finish a book if it doesn't click after the first chapter, although I thank them for trying.

But, if they remember Grace Elliot saying "geezy Pete," or Lucy Dolan's cat, Kitty Kinsale, or that Cass Logan made the best gingerbread men in Christmas Town, I'm happy with that. I hope they are, too. I hope it's the lipstick print on their cups and that they smile when they remember.


8 comments:

  1. You look fabulous, makeup or not, but makeup does make me feel better about myself so I get that. And yes, "Geezy Pete" is something I sometimes think to myself from time to time. I never thought of where it came from, but I'm sure it's because of rereading your books! Hugs, baby!

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  2. What a lovely memory, Liz. I have to admit I almost never wear makeup anymore. It's not a big priority for me. But if some lipstick makes you feel good, I say go for it!

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    1. Thanks, Jana. It’s definitely too much trouble to put on if it didn’t make me feel good!

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  3. Fun reading & memories of my Gram - ❤️

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