Wordstock 08: The Blank Page II

Erin Ergenbright handed out an image trimmed from some anonymous magazine and asked us to come up with the name and occupation for the person pictured. Then we were to include this information within a narrative that explained why this individual was kicked out of their family. The morose young adolescent toying with two small plastic animals in front of a brick wall inspired this incipient text:
Esmeralda May Eddy preferred Esme— in this way she used two out of three given names with nominal effort. She had been labeled a dreamer by exasperated caregivers and school teachers, but she preferred to think of herself as an adolescent spiritualist on a mission to reconnect the Santa Lucia Preparatory School with the soul of the natural world.
The next task was to write about the character we'd created from the point of view (that's POV, for those who like acronyms) of a family member. A different lens exposes a different picture, so I chose precocious Esme's exasperated mother and her recollection of the day her daughter left for Santa Lucia:
Esmeralda had plastered her Samsonite with hundreds of sheets of origami paper within twelve hourse of it being enlisted to hold her clothes for Santa Lucia. Naturally, I made no mention of it, as words only vindicated her recalcitrance and I had no desire for her to leave with any sense of self-satisfaction. 

We had reached a verbal impasse on far more than luggage, and it was with two years of heavy regret that I stood by and watched Charles lug the gaily colored case into the trunk. Esmeralda bowed her head with great exaggeration as she got in the back seat of the car: perhaps imagining the rough hand of the law pushing her into a squad car or, more likely, the unyielding palm of God himself sentencing her to four years of the most prestigious preparatory education in New England.
And then my six minutes was up. 

The fact that I ended up with a cliched and overly melodramatic family drama wasn't particularly bothersome; rather it was the fact that I'd become completely wrapped up in my trite fiction that gave me a moment's pause. I almost felt resentment when Ms. Ergenbright stopped our pencils in order to have a few minutes of sharing. When would I find time to outline my sub plots of guilty maternity, obsessive horticulture, and contemporary animism?

One last exercise remains for The Blank Page. Next up, I will respond to two disparate words in a weak homage to Susan Sontag.


Edward Ott said...

it looks beautiful and should be easy to find on a luggage carousel.

Jeffrey T. Baker said...

That it is! Although my wife then has to ward off countless comments about her luggage which, when calculated against the time spent just waiting for a nondescript bag on the luggage carousel, ends up being about equivalent.