Friday, October 18, 2013

A Scene I Would Have Written If I Had Been A Girl On The Bus Today

I was riding the bus home today and the two girls sitting in front of me were talking about one girl's creative writing class.  Her teacher was hard to please and only gave her a 3.1.  Her next assignment was to write a scene of a lover's spat.  So here's what I came up with as I sat there staring out the window and listening to their conversation and letting my mind drift.

It would start with a line of dialogue.  Something in the negative, obfuscating the issue of the argument itself.  Something like, "That isn't really what I was talking about," or "It's not that I don't appreciate it..."  The scene would be a couple, man at the sink doing dishes after dinner, woman sitting at the table staring out the window (maybe drinking a glass of wine).  There would be very little action or movement.  To break up the conversation, you would occasionally see a line or two about washing the dishes, moving them into the dish strainer, staring into the soapy water, etc.  At some point the woman would get up somewhat awkwardly and offer to help with the dishes and the man would somewhat awkwardly refuse her help, not out of spite, but because he was almost done, but this little bit of action would also in some way mirror the larger issue that they are discussing.  It would go on, very slowly, with lots of empty space; not an argument, but two people trying to overcome their differences in earnest.  But they never really come to understand each other, and there are lots of false starts and sentences left hanging.  It ends similar to where it began.  Something like, "No, that's not really what I mean."  And then they sit there and you hear the sound of the dish washer clicking through its cycles.  There's something poetic and sad in that, throughout the course of this conversation, they've abandoned doing dishes by hand.

So that's what I would write about.


Seth D'Ambrosia said...

It still amazes me to think there can be a way to communicate the distance you suggest between these two characters. I think there are plenty of writers who get it done and I'm sure you would get it done too, if you wrote it. I know, to date, I could not write least not easily. When I imagine what it would take to do it, I keep thinking of my 10 year old self attempting to draw a fence post on a dry summer day on the family farm in Idaho. It was painstaking and it took hours of attention...and in the end it was really just riddled with misunderstanding. It took me years to master drawing. I think I also want to master writing. But when I think of the hours it will take, I just feel like sitting down and resting.

Ross said...

Boredom is the fount of creativity. Or despair. Either way, you're on the right track.

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