Wednesday, May 6, 2020

What Do Your Eyes Communicate?

Congratulations to Linda Phillips for winning THE HEART CHANGER from last week's blog.


This week I have something different for you. The first time I went out in public with my Covid mask and saw other people in their masks, I thought about how as a writer, I try to capture nonverbal expressions to show (rather than tell) how my characters are feeling. Many times, that is through their eye expressions. It also made me think of One Stop for Writers and all of their helpful tools for writers. Like this one from the Eye entry of their Physical Feature thesaurus:

Then, my sister, Barbara Federlin, texted me a selfie in her mask:

#1 Barbara Federlin

From there, this post and a "game" was born.


Starting with the picture of my sister Barbara, leave me a comment with the feeling you think the person was experiencing (or what you imagine they were thinking) when the picture was taken. Synonyms are OK. Surprise and shock, for example, would be considered acceptable synonyms. Likewise fear, anxiety, or worry. Let's see who can read eye expressions the best. If an emotion isn't obvious, just guess!

Next week I'll share the answers and who read the eyes the best. 

Note: The last person pictured doesn't have a number because all he was concerned about was that the picture came out OK! But I thought it was the most unique mask of all--his wife made it for him out of a yarmulke

BONUS FOR WRITERS: At the end of this blog I have two diagrams I have on my Pinterest board and lengthier quotes from a few of my FB friends. 

#2 - Becca Puglisi 

#4 Barbara Lee Bryant

#5 Annonymous male

#6 Donna Earnhardt 

#7 Jarm Del Boccio 

#8 Jean Hall

#9 Joan Edwards

#10 Laurie Foote

#11 Melodye Shore

#12 Wendell and Linda Phillips 

#13 Mary Ellen Stack Pike

#14 Virginia and Tom O'Malley

#15 Kathleen Burkinshaw

#16  John Craig

#17 Pat Baldwin

#18 Tony Reames

#20 Jim Wiechman

Barry Schifreen 


In the comments write the number of the photo and the emotion or thought that you think was going through the subject's mind or what he or she was feeling. 


From Melodye Shore: "I felt seen. I felt loved. I felt more protected, of course, but in some ways I felt more vulnerable. And I saw more clearly the vulnerabilities of those with whom I came in contact. Even though most of our faces aren’t visible, we can still make eye contact. That’s important and a critical difference to how things usually are. Our eyes reveal so much about who we are and how we are feeling! They truly are the windows to our souls." 4/23/20

From Tony Reames: "I was thinking that wearing masks in public may become the new normal as some states rush to “open back up.” 4/21/20


Angela Ackerman said...

This is such an interesting game! I think what I notice immediately is that while we think we're focusing on the eyes to read emotion, we're actually reading a mixture of facial cues which, together, help us interpret someone's emotion. Some of these were really hard!

1: Focus, thinking, so determination, maybe?
2: LOL. Becca's a little crazy-eyes here. Mock anger?
3: Shock
4: This one's a bit blurry, compassionate?
5: Sadness?
6: Happiness
7: Determination
8: Sadness
9: Fear, scared, or shocked?
10: ??
11: ??
12: Happiness?
13: This looks like she's rolling her eyes, so I'll go with impatience or exasperation
14: Tough one. Tom looks worried or sad, Virginia very focused. Not sure.
15: ?
16: Angry or frustrated
17: Surprised?
18: Resigned
19: Sad or depressed
20: annoyed?
21: ??

This was so hard--I am sure I did terrible, lol. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Angela. We'll see how anybody else reads these expressions!

Jarm Del Boccio said...

What a fun exercise, Carol — and I love the One-Stop chart!

Linda A. said...

An awesome post. A writer's way to see emotions through the eyes of those he/she meets. I choose not to play, but hope everyone has FUN!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
This was an interesting project. It made me think and use my sleuthing skills. Thank you to everyone who participated by taking a selfie. Thank you for being creative and figuring out that this would be a fun exercise.

Here are my guesses.
1: worry, fearful
2: anger, tired
3: surprise, shock
4: sadness, shock
5: worry
6: joy
7: determined, energetic
8: sadness
9: fear, surprise, shock
10:worry, energetic
11: sadness
12: joy
13: anger, sadness, I can't believe this is happening to me.
14: tired, sadness
15: shock, weary
16: happy
17: determined
18: depressed, sadness, tired
19: depressed, sadness, overwhelmed
20:anger, revengeful
21: shocked, angry

Do something fun for you.
Be Safe.
Be well.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks JOan and Angela for playing along. And thanks for checking out the blog, Linda. Yes--it is hard to figure out what a person is experiencing just from their eyes!

Cat Michaels said...

Wow, Carol....covid Brain here not concentrating on so many sets of lovely eyes but a wonderful take on facial expressions, writing and living in Coronaville!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Cat! I know, it's a hard game to play!

barry said...

1. I think Barb looks angry here, eventho I haven't seen her in over 45 years.
2. this is hard, as her right eye is set deeper than her left eye, and appears angry, while her left eye has the raised eyebrow and shows concentration as she takes the selfie.
3. surprise.
4. tiredness.
5. ?
6. laughter.
7. annoyed.
8. bored.
9. "if you don't cut out the nonsense I'm going to get you!" to her kid.
10. ?
11. ?
12. "ok, lets pose for Carol."
13. ho boy, what now?
14. Virginia: "please Tom, let's just do this for Carol." Tom: okay.
15. ?
16. more squinty than an angry look.
17. "ok, Carol, I'll do this for you, but i don't know about this internet thing you do." (i assume your mom-in-law.)
18. "what you got me doing now?"
19. tired.
20. "can I get back to my program now?"
21. I hope my hair looks ok. (I was not shocked or angry.)

btw, the photo at the top of your blog page is not of you in junior high school. probably closer to first grade. were you in Mrs Ross's class with me and the 4 Tommys?

Carol Baldwin said...

I was in Mrs. Ross's class! Nope, not junior high for sure. But I think that was my kindergarten picture. I'll have to dig it out to be sure! Thanks for commenting, Barry. You're right about Pat Baldwin--my mother-in-law--and what she was thinking!

barry said...

well, at least i got one right!

Carol Baldwin said...

You probably got more than one right; answers next week!

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