Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Creating Character Emotions: Apathy #2

Manga emotionsManga emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)For the second exercise we had to write about someone who is indifferent due to a personal agenda. I originally wrote this for the first exercise but felt that it fit this one better.

“Can I get your signature? Just your name please. Will you sign this, you don’t even need to read it? Please sign this petition to save the children’s home. No, that’s okay.” We need two hundred signatures to save the children’s home from being torn down. Just two hundred, it seems almost impossible. I had hoped that coming to a college campus that it might be easier to get some signatures.

“Sir, just a second of your time, could you sign this, please just a second to save orphans. No, thanks anyways.” Still the same story, trying to get signatures, but people walk right past s if I am invisible. College students stream by me, carrying their backpacks, trudging their way to wherever they are going. So focused on getting there, they don’t see the world around them.

“Could you please spare a second? An orphanage is going to be destroyed, if we can’t get enough signatures. Please sign this.” Some don’t even bother to respond, they just walk past. I can even see some students changing directions just to avoid me. What will it take to get people to sign? What should I do?

“Orphans are being kicked out into the street. Sign this to stop it. Stop orphans from being kicked out. Sign this,” still no responses. I walk around the quad and head towards the student recreation center. Maybe some students there will spare a second. The center is packed with students playing games, working out, and hanging out.

“Orphans being murdered on the streets, orphans being sold as prostitutes, stop it by signing this.” The students run around me, ignoring me. Even here, even though it seems full of life and activity, the students’ dead eyes show that there is nothing here. They play and talk, but most of all, they pretend not to see or hear me.

“Children using drugs. Children forced into lives of crime. Sign this.” I move through the large building, looking for hope while I act like a carnival barker or some tv salesman. I want them to pay attention, but it as if I don’t exist to them. Do I exist? Do the children exist? Maybe the students I am calling to don’t exist.

“Sign, Sign, Sign this. Help. Please Help. Help me.” I leave the building and feel like I am fading away. Maybe, I never existed. I float towards one of the dining halls. In there, people stuff food into their mouths. They do not care what they eat so they eat. They are too busy cramming to notice me. Too busy eating to hear or see or anything, but the food in front of them.

“Can anyone hear me?” I fade away nothing matters. My fliers fly away; maybe someone else can help them. The papers drift on by; they don’t matter. I don’t matter. The orphans should help themselves. There are no orphans. There is no I.

“Can I get your signature? Just your name please. Will you sign this, you don’t even need to read it? Please sign this petition to save the children’s home.” A voice fills the air, but it makes no impact on me. Words filled with no substance. I drift on by.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Creating Character Emotions: Apathy

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24:  A man dressed...SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24: A man dressed as a zombie sits next to a woman on a park bench during the Sydney Zombie Walk on October 24, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Zombie Walk saw participants travel a route through the business district starting and culminating at Sydney's Hyde Park. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)For the first exercise in Apathy we had to write a short inspired by the story Orientation by Daniel Orozco. My first attempt at this did not go well. After writing the first and second exercises, I felt that I should reverse the order, because what I wrote for the second exercise worked better than the first one did.

The hunger was intense, so intense it blocked out everything else. I no longer cared about anything. Bills did not matter. Love and friendship are nothing to me. I ate my best friend. She temporarily stalled the hunger. I ate my dogs; they did nothing for the hunger. That was when I knew only the flesh of the living humans would cure my hunger pangs.

I still tried to eat animals from time to time as it became harder and harder to find humans who do not suffer the same condition as I. I tried to bite one once; it was horrible. The flesh of infected or dead just makes me feel ill. The only thing that matters is finding the living and eating them.

I spot two other infected, one of them is missing an arm. They are both heading in the same direction. Maybe they know where some people are. I shamble after them. Soon others join us, all of us are heading in the same direction. There must be people, why else would we all be heading this way.

We walk forward until we hit a wall. We continue to walk forward. I am being crushed in the crowd, but I don’t feel anything. All that matters is walking forward to get to the food. The armless one falls after the loud crack of a gun. I knew that there were people here. I walk forward. My skin scrapes the hard concrete wall. Two more fall to the gun.

There is a loud crashing sound as a vehicle crashes through a gate. I turn to follow it. I walk and walk. Even though I don’t know where it has gone or where I am going, I walk. The endless hunger forces me to hunt until the end.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Creating Character Emotions: Anxiety 3

anxietyanxiety (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)For the third exercise we had to write about a person's anxiety about something relatively minor. I decided to link my this back to the first anxiety exercise.

Anxiety #3

Candi checked the mailbox. Just like, she had for the past four days. Every day she had hoped that her check would come in so she could pay her bills and buy some food. Every day she checked it and every day she been disappointed. She needed that money. She needed it bad. There was nothing in there yet.

She was afraid that she had screwed up somehow. Was it her fault that the money wasn’t in yet? She didn’t know what she was going to do if it didn’t it come soon. Candi checked the mailbox again and swore when there was nothing in there. She went back into the house and sat down. She picked at the ends of her hair. Her phone rang. Her account had been put on suspension. She could receive calls but she couldn’t call out.

She didn’t want to answer it. She didn’t want to talk to anyone. It could be just another bill collector calling. Where was the mailman? She almost didn’t want to check the mail. What was she going to do if there was no check in the mail? She didn’t think she could even qualify for a loan, even if she wanted one. Getting a loan would just mean getting into more debt. She stood up, walked to her window, and looked outside. Nothing.

She scratched at her face. She turned on the TV and turned it off again. She heard something outside. Was he here? She opened her door. She looked at her mailbox. She wanted to open it, but she didn’t dare open it. She reached down and pulled the mailbox door open and looked inside. There was a stack of envelopes. She swallowed. She felt a shiver of joy. It must be in there. It must be. She grabbed the envelopes and sorted through them before she even went inside. It must be here. It must be. She got to the envelope and smiled…

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Creating Character Emotions: Anxiety 2

AnxietyAnxiety (Photo credit: Joana Roja - working long hours, mostly away)The second exercise for Anxiety in Creating Character Emotions was quite fun. We had to write a 1-2 page scene in which a character is in danger, without using any dialogue. I don't know if I managed to capture enough anxiety in it, but I had fun.

Anxiety #2

Shhh Thump Thump. Shhh Thump Thump. Maria was running on a treadmill. It was late and she had only a few minutes left before she was done. She increased the speed on the machine. Shh Thump Thump. Sh Thump Thump. Thump Thump. Her heart rate increased as she pushed herself to run faster. Sweat dripped down her head. Maria counted down the seconds until she could begin her cool down.

Maria tried to catch her breath as she walked. She could feel slight tremors through her body, which let her know that she had pushed herself a little too hard. Maria sprayed the treadmill down and wiped it off. She looked around and noticed that she was the only one left in the room. She collected her things as she did she looked into the weight room. It was dark and empty.

Shhh Thump Thump Shhh. Maria turned and looked at the treadmills. They were empty and still. She hurried out of the room. There was no one at the desk. The lights were out. Thankfully, Maria could see her way out thanks to the pale light from the outside lights shining through the glass doors. She tried to open the doors, but they were locked.

Shh Thump Thump Shh. Maria almost called out, but something stopped her. Her heart quickened. There was something else in the building. Surely, someone else was in the building. They wouldn’t have just locked her in. Maria knew that there was another door out. It led to the employee parking lot.

Shh Thump Shh. Maria hurried through the lobby. The way out was down a dark narrow corridor. She felt around for the light switch. If she remembered correctly there were two light switches, one at each end. She switched on the light. It flickered to life and she felt relief. Just having that light made her feel better. She walked down the corridor, feeling a little silly. That noise was probably just some machine in the building that someone forgot to switch off. The clerk was probably in such a rush, that they didn’t want to wait on her.

Thump Thump Shh. The lights went out. Maria froze for just a second. Then she ran. She hit the door hard and tried to open it. The door was jammed, it was an emergency door, and it should open. She desperately felt around the cool cement wall for the light switch. The walls felt almost wet. She hoped that it was just the sweat on her hands, but it was sticky. Maria felt her lungs go into overtime. She tried to call out, but she could only croak.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creating Character Emotions: Anxiety

AnxietyAnxiety (Photo credit: Alaina Abplanalp Photography)The second emotion in "Creating Character Emotions" by Ann Hood is anxiety. I know quite a bit about anxiety since I have been diagnosed with it. Yet I found it surprisingly hard to write about it. In the first exercise, we had to write a one page interior monologue about a character who is anxious about getting something.

Anxiety #1

Five days to go. In five days, I need to pay my bills or my electricity will be shut off. My landlord wants the rent. My student loan payment is already one day late. The check is not here yet. Where is the mailman? Is it here yet? Fuck.

Four days to go. I can’t call anyone for help; my phone has been shut off. What can I make using the scraps in the fridge? I don’t think that meat has gone off yet. If I grab that, will there be enough for leftovers? Where is the mailman? Is it here yet? Fuck.

Three days to go. Leave me alone. I can’t believe my hours were cut. I think that meat was off. I have been on the toilet all day. I hurt. I need to gather my info so I can get a payday loan. I don’t want a payday loan. Where is the mailman? Where is the mailman? Where is the mailman? Is it here yet? Fuck.

Two days to go. I wish I were a zombie. How much easier would things be if I all I had to was worry about eating brains. I hate this. I want to be left alone. I wonder if I could pawn some stuff instead of getting a loan. I wonder if I just leave. Can they fend for themselves? Why can’t they? What would I do? I can’t just leave. Where is he? Is it? .Fuck

One day to go…

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