Thursday, November 02, 2006

getting creative

I've been taking this creative writing course.

This week's assignment was to think of someone very different from myself, create a list of adjectives to describe that person and then create a life history. All this was a warm-up for the piece we are to submit this evening (and I admit to only doing this first bit in my head), a scene involving this character at a pivotal moment in his life.

So the text below is where all my imaginings took me. It's more than a little cliched but I am into new territory here. I write a lot, but it is either in the first person (my blog writing) or in the form of a report or other professional document.

This is the result of my attempt to move outside my writing comfort zone:


Bill wasn’t sure how long he’d been staring at the bathroom mirror. Beads of sweat had collected on his forehead and the eyes that looked back at him were riddled with little red lines.

How many drinks had he had? He’d lost track. Again. The heavy drinking would have to stop. He wasn’t getting any younger, and sooner or later, the drink would take its toll. Or he would do or say something from which his reputation would never recover.

Perhaps he already had.

On nights like this one, though, drinking seemed the only way to get through the evening.

It was much harder than he had anticipated having both women in the same room.

He knew when he entered into the marriage, that being with Liz would be no picnic. But marrying the boss’s daughter brought with it many advantages (or so he had thought). And Liz had been so different from the girls he’d gone out with. So together. So sure of herself and her rightful place in the world. He’d wanted to be a part of that world and all the privilege it afforded.

Daddy’s little girl. There was no denying the fact that he held his position in the company because of her, in part (she would no doubt say that this was entirely the case). Her infatuation with him had soon turned to contempt. Now every evening brought with it a litany of his failures and the ways in which he would never measure up to her father.

It had become much easier to remain late at the office, if not working, then at least away from Liz and her unrelenting scorn.

He’d more or less fallen into the affair with Mary. She was the first person he saw every day when he walked into the office. Unlike his wife, she always seemed happy to see him, remembered how he liked his coffee and laughed at all his jokes. She’d made it clear she admired him.

One night, when he’d had to work late, he’d asked her to stay and help him. They had ended up going out for a drink. That had been all, until the next time, when one drink became two and then three. They’d ended up at a motel.

This was a sequence of events that had repeated themselves several times since that night.

It had been heady and fun at first. He’d felt powerful. And attractive. Now he was definitely feeling the heat.

Mary had begun to drop hints that the status quo was no longer enough for her. He knew it was only a matter of time before she would start to demand more from him. More of his time, his attention and a more public – and permanent – role in his life.

He needed to break it off with her before it was too late.

If it wasn’t already.

He looked at his watch.

Just a few more hours and he could go home, take off his tie, pour himself a stiff drink and get ready to spend another night on the couch.

Just a few more hours to keep Mary and Liz away from each other. A few more hours of the false cameraderie, the backslaps and forced laughter.

He could do it. He’d faced much tougher challenges in his life. But not many.

With one last glance in the mirror, Bill straightened his tie. He turned and put his hand on the bathroom door. It was time to re-join the party.

I'll let you know if I get any interesting feedback. And yes, I'd be happy for yours as well.

1 comment:

amanda said...

That's really great! You were very descriptive, I can definitely picture Bill in my mind's eye.

Keep it up! :)