Writing Excuses Homework 10.8

Journal_WEsmallhttp://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/02/22/writing-excuses-10-8-qa-on-character/

Assignment: Sketch out the events before and after your dead-drop scene from last week and three weeks ago.

BEFORE:

Abi was at her work, a museum conservation office, scrambling to create a forgery of the Shakespeare Folio, and not be noticed by her coworkers. She packed it in a preservation box, pulled the messenger bag out of a box under her desk, and headed downtown.

Mike is forced to stay late, after being forced to come in early. He finally manages to slip out, with the help of a co-worker, and rushes home to find his dog, Beauty, by the door, leash in her mouth, whining. He drops his bag, throws his tie on the table,and takes Beauty on a walk.

 

AFTER:

Abi drops the bag, picks up the trade off bag, and then walks the park, interacting with the dogs. She wanders south, away from the table, and runs into Mike, and is surprised, and flustered, and drops the bag, spilling it’s contents – lots of fliers that look to have been pulled off of light posts from around town, and she finds herself having to explain the contents.

Mike and his dog get to the lawn, and Beauty takes care of business. Mike settles into a more leisurely walk, letting Beauty interact with dogs. A flash of orange, and he sees Abi heading to him. She is surprised to see him, and drops her bag, which appears to contain garbage. He wonders if she really is a good choice to care for Beauty.

Writing Excuses Homework 10.7

Journal_WEsmallFrom the second Character class (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/02/15/writing-excuses-10-7-who-are-all-these-people/) here is an exercise that builds on the previous one. My previous exercise  can be found here: Writing Excuses Homework 10.5

Writing Prompt: Pick one of the dead-drop characters from the exercise two weeks ago, and turn them into a secondary character. Now take one of the characters with whom they interacted, and write the same scene again, but from this new character’s POV.

Beauty tugged on her leash, and Mike picked up his pace. He had tried to be home on time, he really had, but Morgan had had other ideas. He didn’t like that his dog suffered at the whims of his boss at the same time he was grateful Beauty was trained well enough to not mess the flat.

A flash of swirly orange ahead caught his attention among the grays and blacks and blue jeans. The girl in the skirt that had caught his eye turned, and Mike recognized his down-the-hall neighbor. Her blue eyes narrowed, and she turned away.

Mike watched her walk, almost as fast as Beauty was pulling him along in her urgency to get to the green. He was beginning to regret training the terrier to only do her afternoon business in the Shops Downtown lawn. It was as misguided effort to ensure that he got at least a small walk in every day, but now it just seemed like a cruelty.

Damn Morgan. He was uncomfortable thinking how his dog must be feeling.

The neighbor girl caught his attention again. She had turned to look back, and quickly turned away when he noticed, pulling the messenger bag she carried up under her arm.

Maybe he could ask her to check in on Beauty on days when he was late, he remembered she was good with dogs. Beauty tugged more urgently, and pulled him down 2nd toward the south side of the lawn. Mike filed that question to ask her later, and picked up his pace again.

Damn Morgan.

 

Depression vs. Anxiety in conversation

Moleskine Project: illness & recovery #15; cc-by Christopher Paquette

Moleskine Project: illness & recovery #15; cc-by Christopher Paquette

I am very candid about my mental health. In part because it is only when people are willing to discuss it that we, as a culture, can work towards removing the stigma surrounding it. In part because it helps me in my own struggles if I open up about them; I can find support if I only ask.

I am on a pretty even-keel lately with my depression – finally on a dosage of a medication that seems to be working for me. However the anxiety part of this fun chemical playground that is my brain has been acting up of late. My doctor has prescribed a different medication for the anxiety, to be taken as needed, because, unlike the depression, the anxiety isn’t a constant thing – just something that needs to be dealt with when it rears it’s annoying head.

I’m still working on the correct dosage for that, and remembering to carry the anti-anxiety meds every day, and acknowledging when it is time to take them – when it isn’t something that will pass without the medication.  But I accept this as part of the process, like learning how to manage the depression was a process, and not just an out-of-the-box answer.

But the most difficult thing I have found about managing my anxiety is talking about it. Not for any fear or associated stigma, but because of language. When people ask me what’s wrong, and I say I’m having a difficult day because of the depression, for the most part people get it. When I say it’s because of anxiety, their next question, 9 times out of 10, is “What are you anxious about?”

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I know that I’m doing okay, and that the sudden hyper-awareness of my heartbeat, and that weird sense of dread that something isn’t right (or that I just need to get away from where I am, STAT) is due to an annoying entity in that chemical playground throwing balls at me that I can’t dodge (I think this metaphor is falling apart, oh well).

And due to the confusion the language causes, I find when I am trying to deal with the anxiety, I am less likely to reach out to my support network, because I don’t want to face that question. Because I don’t have a good answer for it.

I think I may take up the “bad brain day” that Sandra and her family use. It could be a catch-all for both the depression and the anxiety, and remove the dread of that question “What are you worried/anxious about?”

Writing Excuses Homework 10.5

Journal_WEsmallWriting Excuses, season 10, episode 5 (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/02/01/writing-excuses-10-5-what-do-you-mean-my-main-character-is-boring/) homework: Take three different characters and walk them through a scene. Convey their emotional states, their jobs, and their hobbies without directly stating any of those. The scene in question: walking through a marketplace, and they need to do a dead-drop.

Robert stormed past the silks merchant, and didn’t bother to apologize – or even stop – when he knocked the rack of batik scarves into the muddy street. I’d be his luck if Lucio picked up the complaint, but even that he could live with. As long as the bastards who’d roped him into this were caught. He’d perform to the letter of their demands – it was the only way to ensure Viol’s safety, but he sure as hell planned to trod all over the spirit.

Next right, two doors past the milliner’s. He couldn’t bring himself to knock the newest sun hats to the street, but he bumped hard into the table, and grinned fiercely when the awning post fell, dropping the floral cloth to the great protest of the woman behind the table.

That should be enough  to get the cameras to follow him, but sometimes Miller could be stodgy, especially if she thought she could save money, so he swung the wretched black bag into a stand of cheap paste jewelry, knocking dozens of impressive looking fakes to the ground and stepping on a few for good measure. And because this shop had a reputation for some real forgeries, though he hadn’t yet been able to prove it, even Miller couldn’t ignore this. Reigning in his pace, and slipping a placid look on his face, though he was cure his eyes would give him away if the scum were close enough to see, Robert turned the corner and approached the drop site.


Abi couldn’t help looking over her shoulder. Again. There was no one following her that she could tell. Again. She’d been certain that Mike and his wire fox terrier were following her, but they turned off at 2nd, and she remembered that was the regular walking path from when she’d watched Beauty last year.

She tucked the messenger bag more firmly under her arm, the preservation box digging into her side as she sucked air in through her teeth and focused on keeping her eyes forward. Just act natural, she thought, rubbing ink-stained fingers over her damp palm. Natural.

The light at Pine was flashing, and she jogged across, side-stepping what looked like a corgi- retriever mix, and slowed to a normal walk. She just had to get to the picnic table on the north lawn, find the identical bag, and make the switch. Keep walking with whatever the hooligans on the other side of this grand scheme thought an original Shakespeare folio was comparable to, at least in shape and size.

Rubbing her hand on her pants, Abi entered the shop-lined park and glanced around. Full with the after-5 walkers, like she expected. She looked at the table, saw the abandoned bag. But a pair of poodles was headed that direction, their owner’s attention on their phone, but still, best wait a minute.

She shifted the bag again and took three measured breaths, wondering how they would have chosen the size of the replacement, and hoping it was information from wikipedia, the same information she had used to create the forgeries in her bag.

The path cleared, and with one last deep breath, Abi headed to the table.


Twitch didn’t like doing the dirty work. That’s what grunts were for. Only there weren’t any around. In lock-up, or scared off by The Johnnies. Or worse, in rehab. Hands drifting toward nose were quickly redirected to running through too-long bangs. Better to look nervous than itchin’.

It’d been too long since Twitch’d been on the streets – didn’t hardly recognize any of the faces peering up from the cardboard rooms and stairs. Only the suits hadn’t changed. Clipping along to their high-rises and coffee shops and bodegas.

Pro’lly one of them wanted the bag. Course maybe it was just a better place, more people, that anyone could get lost in. Damn city centers all the rage, if you listened to those talk radio reports.

Could just as easily been Frankie from 3 doors down. Twitch didn’t care, really, ‘cept to get the cash. Fat roll, should be. But never count it onsite. Remembered that much from days being a grunt for someone else.

Damn, felt like too many eyes around. Reporting back and out, maybe to the radio folks, or maybe to cops. Twitch tugged again at bangs, counting. Third can past Gloria’s with the faded paint. Stumble, drop one of the two brown bags next to the trash. Five more steps, tie shoe, retrieve bundle taped under the mailbox.

Twitch stood, rolling shoulders. Despite the mayor’s big talk on crime prevention, it was pie. Twitch sniffed, sauntered back to count the roll.


Not sure how I did conveying the three things I was supposed to for each character – feel like I drifted more into character voice, than anything. And apparently “marketplace” was the hardest missive of all.