#1 Show and don't tell exercise: We are supposed to write a scene where we are showing and not telling the reader what is going on. Then we need to rewrite it with an emotion picked off of a list (I picked anger).
Josie came in through the kitchen door and tossed her keys on the counter.
“Is that you?” called a voice from upstairs.
“That depends on who ‘you’ is” she called back. Humming under her breath, she kicked off her tennis shoes and padded over to the fridge. Opening the stainless steel door with one hand, she simultaneously brushed her hair back with the other and tossed her head, shaking the curls out of her eyes. . “UMMM, YOU NEED TO GO SHOPPING! THIS PLACE IS, LIKE EMPTY!”
“You don’t have to shout, I’m right here.” Silvia’s voice was like her appearance: sleek, pale, impeccable. She glided in the room and slid her eyes up and down Josie’s frame. Taking it all in: from her unruly hair to the hole in her sock. She inhaled sharply through her nose “can you please manage to be presentable for one afternoon?” as she spoke the word “presentable” she make a sweeping gesture with one manicured hand, indicating Josie’s hair and clothing.
Josie replied by pulling the tab on a diet soda she scavenged from the bottom of the refrigerator, “hiss-pop.” Sylvia disliked soda and Josie was always sneaking cans in and squirreling them away. After taking a deep pull from the can, she set it on the counter and said “I’m sorry that I don’t live up to your standards. In a couple of weeks I’ll be 18 and what you think about my ‘presentation’ won’t matter anymore.” With that, she picked up her can and walked out.
Sylvia watched her leave and slowly traced the ring of condensation left on the granite countertop with one finger. “Oh, Josephine” she sighed “I wish I mattered more to you.”
Josie came in through the kitchen door, announcing her arrival by the slam and jangle of her keys hitting the counter.
“Is that you?” called a voice from upstairs.
“That depends on who ‘you’ is” she retorted, rolling her eyes, then under her breath “stupid…stupid, stupid.” She stalked over to the fridge and yanked open the stainless steel door with one hand while simultaneously raking a fringe of unruly curls out of her eyes with the other. “WHY IS THERE NEVER ANYTHING GOOD TO EAT OR DRINK IN THIS HOUSE?”
“You don’t have to shout, I’m right here.” Silvia’s voice was like her appearance: sleek, pale, impeccable. “Please Josephine, can you manage to be pleasant for one afternoon, one?” the last word came out like a sigh.
Josie pulled out a diet soda and relished the pained look on Sylvia’s face as she pulled the tab on the can with a satisfying “hiss-pop.” Sylvia hated soda. Smirking, she took a long pull from the can, slammed it down on the counter and replied “Whatever, I’m outta of here soon enough. 13 days and 7 hours until my eighteenth birthday and then I can be as pleasant or unpleasant as I want to WHOEVER I want and I won’t have to take your crap anymore.”
She grabbed her soda can and flounced out of the kitchen. The pounding of footsteps could be heard as she went up stairs, then the sound of a slamming door which made Sylvia startle a bit, even though she knew it was coming. Sylvia took a slow deep breath and slowly traced the ring of condensation on the granite counter with her finger. “It is ‘whomever’ not ‘whoever’” her voice was low and steely “and good luck paying the rent on your fabulous new life once all your money has been cut off, you little shit.”
#2 Characterization- We were supposed to describe a character's room for the first part then for the second part have dialogue between 2 of the characters that is really about something deeper than what they appear to be talking about. For the last part, the character has to make a mistake or do something wrong.
1) Sylvia’s bedroom is a lesson in orderliness. Mess is not tolerated here and it shows. The king sized bed she shares with her husband looks as though it has never been touched by human hands. The bedspread is as white and pristine as an uncharted Arctic tundra. There are three pillows arranged along the headboard which itself looks to be made of some fantastic, polished wood imported from some exotic faraway land, Narnia perhaps.
Like the pyramids of Giza, the temperature of the room is a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no adornments anywhere in the room save one; an original painting by the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko which hangs in a prominent position on the wall opposing the bed. It is the only blood in an otherwise cold and bloodless room. It is very beautiful and very expensive. It is Sylvia’s pride and joy.
2.) “Kyle,” Sylvia’s heels clicked faintly on the tile as she approached her husband’s study, “we need to make reservations for our dinner with Josephine and Mark on Friday.”
“I believe his name is Mike,” he replied without looking up from his papers, “and I believe you know that. Anywhere you want to go is fine with me.”
“Mark…Mike…, who cares what his name is, I expect he is going to turn out to be horrible just like the rest of her friends. Now decide where you want this little charade to play out, Morton’s or Giovanni’s?” She click clacked across the floor and stood in front of his desk waiting for an answer.
Kyle looked up briefly at his wife, “Giovanni’s is fine with me. I’m always up for a meal there, plus its Josie’s favorite.”
“Yes but I think that Morton’s might be more appropriate for this occasion, given that they are located closer to downtown,” she raised her chin with a triumphant gleam in her eyes, “I think that I’ll call there now and reserve our table for 7:00.’
3.) The August evening enveloped her like a giant octopus; all tentacles and inky stickiness. It was hot. Sylvia had no idea why she decided to come here. Really, what was the purpose? She had no more ties to the woman who lived in the building across the parking lot anymore. The past was dead and gone. As far as Kyle and Josephine knew, her mother was dead and gone too. They thought that because she told them that. Much better to have them believe that than to subject them to the alcoholic mess who raised her.
It was easier to write a check, drawn from her personal account of course, every month and be done with it; be done with HER. Life was simple and cleaner that way, at least it was until the call came.
The nurse who stayed with Connie (always Connie and NEVER Mother) called this morning. She wouldn’t last much longer, possibly not even through the night. It had been 15 years since they last met face to face and it had taken Sylvia all day to “screw her courage to the sticking place” and come here.
The nurse said that Connie had been sober for the last 10 of those years. She said that Connie missed her and spoke of her often, especially over the last few days. It would be a shame to deny her dying request. What if Josephine could actually meet her grandmother? What if Connie died knowing that her legacy went on in the shape of a beautiful, amazing granddaughter? Josephine favored her in looks and intelligence. Her daughter might never forgive her for the lie she had been told her whole life but maybe it would be worth it. Maybe this experience would ground her a little bit and give her some direction. Lord knows, Josephine was starting to show a wild side; one that needed to be tamed.
Sylvia took a small step across the parking lot and imagined trying to explain to her husband, to her daughter, that she was a liar for all these years; that her mother lived. She remembered all those lonely nights as a child, waiting for her mother to come home from God knows where, with God knows who. She remembered the hunger and the cold and the thousands of taunts from other children for her shabby clothing. It was too much. It was too damn hot. She found herself back in the comfort of her sedan with the cool air blowing from the vent on her face. It is better this way, she thought to herself, cleaner. She put the car in gear and pulled out onto the road.