Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)
TITLE: Writing Naturally
By Timothy Klingerman
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“Thanks for coming over to help me with my work, Stan. I need a reality check on what I’ve done so far.”
“I’m always amazed at the volume of work you are able to produce, Mark. It’s almost unnatural.”
“Funny you should word it that way. I sometimes get blocked and, when I do, nature is my solution. Earlier today, I was working on character sketches and coming up blank. I went down to the dock, journaled for a few minutes and, the next thing I knew, the block was gone. I think it just helps me relax.”
“Maybe I need to sell more books and buy a lake house. Hey! Do you mind if I look at your journal before we get started?”
“I don’t mind.”
Mark handed Stan the journal, open to the entry he had made that day:
Painted Turtle – As I walked down the dock, a painted turtle was floating in the sunlight at the surface of the water. She popped her head down, turned tail-up and disappeared from sight. I wish she weren’t so skittish. She loves the sun, but not company.
Largemouth Bass – An insect lighting upon the surface of the water disappeared with a flash of color and a splash of water. The largemouth did not linger long enough for me to admire his muscular body, but returned to the comfort of his underwater lair. I wonder if he and the turtle hide beneath the same submerged log. Note: Next time bring the rod and reel.
Blue-tailed Skink – I am not alone on the dock. A proud, little skink has joined me with his head held above his body. I can tell that his tail has regrown by the change in diameter near the base. He most likely had to leave it behind in the grasp of some predator, but now he is ready for another escape.
Great Blue Heron – Beautiful, tall, majestic. She waits so patiently for her prey, keeping her head cocked as though listening to the water. The hunter is always rewarded for her work, seldom returning without a morsel hanging from her mouth. But her voice is harsh, like the sound of a plastic rake dragging across concrete.
“That’s great, Mark! I am going to have to borrow your dock some day.”
“Be my guest. Are you ready to look at the novel now?”
“Let’s start with the character sketches. I think they are the key to the whole project. They have to be interesting, but not look like Friends or Seinfeld rehashed. That’s why I was blocked on them, but after journaling they just came to me out of the blue.”
Mark handed Stan his character sketch sheet:
Shelly Summers – Shelly enjoys her privacy, but also likes to work on her tan. She spends her weekends sunbathing on her patio, unless she feels she is being watched. She is famous for grabbing her towel and darting inside when people approach.
Billy Finnegan – The workout king of the complex, Billy is always wet with sweat from pumping iron in his apartment. He shows up when food is being served, but typically eats and runs. He is known for his brightly colored sports apparel and muscular body. The ladies wish he would surface long enough to get to know him better, but, rumor has it, he is secretly dating Shelly.
Leonard Slink – The newest resident, Lenny has a checkered background. He has moved from state to state to escape his creditors. If any one of his many schemes pays off he will be rich, but he barely manages to stay ahead of the law. He is always ready to leave everything behind and flee.
Azure Granderson – Azure is the tallest woman in the complex. Despite her height, she blends into a crowd with ease. She is notorious for patiently eavesdropping juicy tidbits from others’ conversations, then sharing the information, rather indiscreetly, in another corner of the room. However, she is best known for her loud, cackling laugh, which usually follows the delivery of her payload.
Stan handed the sheet back to Mark. “I like what you have here. You say you just came up with these out of the blue, huh?”
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