Writing Workshop – Week 3

This week’s exercise based on Between Periods by Jim Daniels:

Describe a dramatic event during an otherwise ordinary day. Move back and forth between the drama and the ordinary events. The narrator does not explicitly describe his emotions, but it becomes evident from the way he describes the ordinary events.

As usual, the story will be below this post if you want to read it.

I was hoping this week I would be able to stick more to the assignment, but again I didn’t completely succeed in doing that. I was going for the effect of the narrator trying not to show his emotions, even though deep down he does feel them. The main problem was that I did not reveal enough of his real emotionsand the narrator comes off too much as being indifferent.

Next time I should try harder to stick to the assignment and not let my personality creep into the story too much. At least next week’s assignment should be fun, and seems like an ideal exercise to fully indulge in my imagination. Just go all out and see where it takes me, and hopefully I won’t stray too far from the assignment at the same time. Anyway, the mood of this exercise will be completely different than the other exercies so far. That’s a promise 🙂

Next week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Drucker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

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Writing Exercise 2

My mother called me up while I was having dinner. My brother was arrested for assaulting some random stranger on the street with a pocket knife.

I stepped back into the restaurant and took my seat again. The main course was served just a few minutes ago, so everyone at the table was already enjoying their meal. I took a sip of the Pinot Noir we ordered. I let it roll gently on my tongue for a few seconds before swallowing it. It had a full-bodied flavor with a nice spicy edge to the taste. I took several more sips, and the glass was empty sooner than I expected. I put down the glass, and it was promptly refilled by Michael, one of my colleagues. “Now there’s a man who knows how to enjoy his wine,” he exclaimed. I laughed and raised my glass to him in response. He did the same, and we both placed the glass onto our lips.

My mother said: “I need to tell you what happened today. But please don’t think too much about it for now. We’ll talk about it when you come home next weekend.” She was crying.

I grabbed my knife and fork and advanced upon my tenderloin steak. I cut off a piece, a nice little piece, and put it into my mouth. It was juicy and tasteful, simply exquisite, and it complemented very well with the wine. I really should compliment the waiter who recommended the Pinot Noir. “This tenderloin steak is really amazing. Those of you who ordered something else, you have no idea what you’re missing.”

It was Marja who responded. “Your steak does look great, but you haven’t tasted this salmon yet. I’m willing to bet that what I ordered is better than what you ordered.” She smiled at me. God, that smile! It could literally penetrate a man’s soul. It could make you feel like she could see right through you. But of course she couldn’t.

“You’ve made me curious about that piece of fish of yours. Tell you what, how about I give you some of my steak, and you give me some of your salmon, so we can compare which one is better?” She agreed. She thought sharing food was a fantastic idea. She loved sharing.

We used to share everything, but what is there to share now? We used to be so similar, so inseparable from each other. And now we are incomparable to each other.

My mother said: “It was just some stranger who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He probably made a wrong comment or something.” I asked my mother how the stranger was doing. I asked her if he wasn’t hurt too badly. He wasn’t. Fortunately he only had a couple of small cuts, one in his shoulder, and one in his upper thigh, nothing too serious. I did not ask about my brother.

We were enjoying a cup of coffee with a liqueur on the side. There was still some wine left in the bottle. I gladly volunteered to empty it. This was also always the perfect time to start gossiping. We started with our bosses, each of us complaining how we are given such a hard time by those assholes, complaining how little they understand about what’s truly going on. After we got bored with that, the conversations shifted towards other colleagues of ours, particularly the ones who we thought were strange, so we could all have a nice laugh.

“Did you know what Ron said to me the other day? That guy is such a creep!” Emma said. We all agreed with her, echoing her words and thoughts. Actually, none of us really knew him all that well, but the guy was pretty weird. “I guess it’s my own fault. I did nothing really to discourage him when he came on to me last time.” “Don’t be ridiculous,” I told her. “You’ve done nothing wrong.”

My mother said: “I should have known something like this would eventually happen. We shouldn’t have let it come this far.”“There was nothing we could do if he wasn’t willing to accept our help,” I told her. “It’s not our responsibility to constantly keep checking on him, to constantly be on our toes.”

We were standing at the entrance of the restaurant, the evening finally coming to an end. “This was a perfect evening.” I said. “We should definitely do this more often.” We said goodbye to one another, and we all went our own separate ways. I walked slowly to the bus stop. I wondered how much wine I had drank tonight.

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2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing Workshop

2 responses to “Writing Workshop – Week 3

  1. Ah hah, so you can’t tell the emotions, but you have to show them through his mundane activity. Brilliant! Sounds like a fun exercise. I’m looking forward to what you come up with next week.

    • Yeah, that’s an important element of the exercise. And the switching back and forth between the ordinary and the drama is another important element. Maybe we can reuse some of these exercises as writing challenges. But less strict of course. It will be more about having fun than getting the exercies right.

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