Impromptu writing, whatever comes...on writing or whatever the question of the day is.
|Each kind of character can be used effectively in a prose piece or a poem as long as that character works well with the premise and fits the requirements of the plot. There is no one character, therefore, that would seem foreign or not usable for a writer, whether that character is a homeless man, a Zen monk, a suburban housewife or even a murderer. What is important in a decent piece is that something or someone goes through a change, and the second most important point is that the writer knows his characters well enough.
The contradictions within a character and contradictions around him create the conflict, just as every character must have inside him, the seeds of his future development.
Just for the fun of it, I'll tackle each character in a short piece, starting with a homeless man. Wish me luck. It is eleven o'clock, and I must finish writing this before twelve.
Jerry Spencer lay on the ground near the park bench, his head resting behind his arms in a huge pile of fall leaves, as he inhaled the crisp, cool fragrance of them before the sun came up. Everything was quiet around him, except for the rustling of foliage falling from the trees. From where he lay, he watched the fancy neighborhood at the other end of the park come to life. Flickering lights inside the homes and sounds of warming engines were signaling the beginning of the day. Luckily, the ground was still warm enough and the leaves had added to the softness of his makeshift bed through the night.
Jerry's eyes caught hold of the white house closest to him. He knew that the couple who lived there went to work each day. He had watched them carefully day in and day out. As soon as both their cars hit the road, Jerry arose, brushing the leaves off him, and walked slowly to the back porch of that home. Nervously, he looked around, then stuck his hand in the large pot that housed a dwarf pine and retrieved a key.
Safely inside, he made his way to the fridge for his breakfast. Once finished, he washed, dried, and returned the utensils he used to their original place. Then, he went to the bathroom and took a shower. As a courtesy to the lady of the house, he cleaned the bathroom and swept the kitchen floor.
The ringing phone startled him, only because it reminded him of his working days of long ago and his home and family far away. He looked around the house, noticing the books, potted indoor plants, and the photographs, especially the photographs. The warmth of them pained him and made him want to hear the voices of his loved ones. He reached for the phone and dialed.
"Hello?" When that familiar voice echoed in his ears, he hastily put the phone down and raced out of the house, not forgetting to put the key in its place. He muttered to himself, "Unforgiven." How could he ever be forgiven for murdering a man, even if the courts deemed it an accident and let him loose?
As Jerry made his way into the park, his eyes focused on a strange sight. On the park bench, near which he had spent the night, a young man with a shaved head and long dress was humming a some strange song. Curious, he ambled toward this odd spectacle of a man.
After clearing his throat to get the man's attention, Jerry asked, "Excuse me, Sir, I never heard that song before. It sounds so...different."
The man bowed his head to Jerry slightly standing up, then he sat down again. "I am praising the sun, Brother. The sun shines on all our reflections as the hearts beat in steady time."
This man had to be slightly off his rocker. Jerry thought he should just leave and find another place to sit.
"Brother Choenden is talking about our reflections on the sun. The reflections of emptiness," a woman's voice said behind Jerry. When Jerry turned around, she saw a young woman with straw-colored hair, wearing a green hoodie. She was pushing a baby carriage back and forth. A housewife for sure, but what was she doing talking so strangely?
"Good day, Tara," the strange man said. "I presume you are here for your mantra, today. Unfortunately, you are not ready for it, yet."
"I'll never be ready," the woman said disappointed, as she pushed the baby carriage. "Maybe tomorrow, then? Please?"
The strange man nodded and bent his head. The housewife left. "What is she after?" Jerry asked.
"A piece of her truth," the man said. "And if I gave her something close to it, she would make a belief out of it. It is the ego, you see. Guilt, anger, pride, unfounded beliefs...all that come from the ego." Then, he giggled. "The ego is funny!"
"Yes, you may have something there," Jerry muttered, moving away.
The ego, huh? Was that his ego not accepting the truth? Maybe it was really an accident. Maybe it was his guilt that had turned him into a murderer. He should reflect on this, he thought.
Maybe the next time he called his mother, he would talk. Maybe the next day, or the day after, or whenever...whenever he would finish reflecting on this ego thing.
See, all four characters, a homeless man, maybe a murderer, a zen monk, and a suburban housewife all together in a makeshift story that needs a serious re-write.
Prompt: What kind of character seems foreign to you...
Whoever you choose that's the persona I would like you to adopt. Try writing in his or her voice.