Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Writing Exercise: Questions Game: RR's response

(This answers an earlier post.)

Facing Kate, Sarah felt the same déjà vu she always feels. The two girls were the exact same height, and their shoulders are the same width across.

“What are you doing, Sarah?”

Sarah struggled for a long moment with that, before lying back down on the floor again, so that it would be obvious. She put her head a bit farther from the toilet this time, but she could still feel damp creeping through her hairnet and hair. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

Kate inhaled as if she were about to blow up a balloon. “And this is supposed to accomplish what, exactly?”

From the floor, Kate looked enormously tall. Sarah thought this was more appropriate, really; Kate’s personality was much taller than hers. “Why would I want to accomplish anything?”

“Yeah, why would you?” Kate plummeted abruptly down, her legs accordianing under her until she was crossed-legged beside Sarah’s wet head. “Why try to keep your job, or your dignity, or even your clothes clean? Why not just give up on anything that’s fucking adult, and go cry like a little kid?”

Sarah slurped snot up her nose and tried to breathe evenly. She stared at the domed light fixture on the ceiling—clean, but with dozens of dead-fly bodies in the nipple of it. When she turned to look at Kate, Kate’s small watery blue eyes were trained right on Sarah’s forehead, like gun sights.

“Is it my turn to talk now?” Sarah said weakly.

“Do you want it to be? Do you have anything to say?”

“Why don’t you just speak for me, say whatever you think I should say? What would say right now, Kate, if you’d just lost it in front of a customer and were lying here in a puddle of maybe pee, and the only reason you hadn’t been fired yet is that Darin is scared to come in the ladies room?”

Kate flinched and peered more deeply at Sarah’s face, before flattening down onto her stomach beside her, so their elbows touched. “Do you really think he’ll fire you?”

“Why wouldn’t he? How much of an asset to the team am I, really?” Sarah had meant to say it with all the grim bravado Kate would have brought to such a damning self-assessment, but the truth of her own uselessness hit her hard in the stomach midway through asset, and the rest of the words were watery with tears. “What use am I at all?”

Kate’s eyes narrowed even more, pale slits with the light of the fluorescent tube reflecting in them. “Can’t you just…just…get it together?”

Sarah tried for another deep breath but there was the weight of a sob resting on her lungs and she didn’t get much. “No.”


RR thinks: this is *way* easier when you've got some narrative to play with, not just the questions themselves to build the whole scene. And I hand-picked a part of the story I was working on where evading the question makes sense. And ended with a statement. But I still used the *spirit* of the exercise, I'd say, plus I think I'll actually be able to keep most of this in the piece as it stands, which is useful.

Anybody else?


1 comment:

Michael said...

I'm not sure if the moment has passed but I've been reading your blog so I thought I'd give it a try and whip up a little all-question scene. I don't normally write things like this but I figured I'd participate in the exercise and see what comes out when I try to put the words together.