In my Creative Writing class, we are writing a short story. I have been having quite a case of writer's block, and thus found the writing exercises we did week after week incredibly awful.
I had an incredibly awful time with it, which was surprising because my imagination never fails to come up with something. And these exercises are not even that difficult-sounding.
After slogging through them, we were/are required to get the basis for our short story together. I groaned. I felt like a failure, pretty much.
Then things began to change.
The air got brighter, my walks brisker, and I grew more alert to my surroundings and the friends around me.
I started noticing things, at first subconsciously, then deliberately.
The sky is vivid.
I can smell barbeque, very faintly.
Her hair is falling out of her ponytail.
The leaves are crispy and make a crunchy noise like potato chips when I walk on them.
The vending machine is half empty, with the top three shelves void of snacks, but Butterfingers and peanut butter crackers are still there.
The apple is soft on its sides.
Her handwriting is slanted.
His voice cracks slightly.
Her face is shaped like an oval mirror.
I think it was because my emotions got kinda funky due to a little bit of heartache. Or maybe it was because I began to immerse myself in painting and my artwork. Or maybe because I started up running, and was forced to feel the wind against my face every morning?
I walked with my friend Sarah one day, and her bobby pin fell from her hair and into the crack in the sidewalk.
For some reason, this image stayed in my head, and I decided that it would be so funny if there was a guy named Bobby Pin (or Penn). Then I decide to name a character "Robert Penn."
That takes care of that.
But what would the story be? So I've got a man. What's his story? Why should I write about him?
The other night, I talked to a friend on the telephone. We spoke for around 3 hours, and in that conversation I got all the remaining components of my story. It was like all of the sudden all these thoughts swirled in my head and I knew I just had to put them into my character.
Robert Penn is kind of an oddball. He's funky, but it works.
One day when he was twelve he sat at the kitchen table doing his homework. The window was open and a breeze touched his nose with smells of falling red leaves. His grandma put a pan in the oven and stepped over to the counter, taking off her oven mitts. "Just remember not to take route 95," she said.
He pulled the strap tighter and double-checked the camera mount. The driver watched him warily, twisting a toothpick between his thin lips.
"Are you sure you've got permission to do this?" he asked for the third time.
"Do you want to see the letter again?"
He shook his head and waved his hand as he walked away from the front of the black engine. "Naw, I 'spose it'll be alright."
Penn stepped down and gazed up at the video camera. This would be the 5th ride, and his fabricated letter of permission from the railway-line had yet to be questioned thoroughly.
So far, just bits and pieces. But I feel confident that if I talk to certain people again, the rest will come. I'm beginning to like this Robert Penn and his fascination with trains. I hope it turns out well...I just have a lot more scenes to gather