Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wednesday Write-off: Early Bird Special

Write-Off Prompt for Wednesday, January 20, 2010:
Find something weird, cool, comical and/or inspiring
on a license plate or bumper sticker,
and write about it.
Take it any direction you'd like,
in any format you choose,
and write at least 20 minutes, altogether
(you can break it up if you want to).
Coming home from work today, I saw
on a personalized plate,
and that's where I got the idea.

All righty then --
I'm still plowed under on the professional front,
so am putting this post/prompt up early.
[I am determined NOT to break my commitment to this,
or my flow in response to it!]

Last week's prompt:
Create a character sketch.
Dash off some descriptive words,
phrases, bits of dialogue, anything at all
to bring someone you know to life.
Use that person's name if you want, or a code name, or a nickname.

Here's mine:
Once Upon a Landlady
Probably slender all her life, now age-thinned, hesitant in her posture like she checks, & often, if she's standing all the way straight up.  Wrings her hands a lot.  "No pets, and I don't like a lot of holes in the walls, and please rinse out your food containers before you put them in either of the cans, regular or recycle."
Excuse me?  "I want to keep the cans clean.  You know they charge you if they have to replace them, and I can't afford it."

When I parked a rental car in my space, lining it up over the also-mandatory-oil-drip-spillage-catching piece of carpet (provided by me), the police woke me from my nap, pounding on the door.  "I just knew someone had broken in!  You didn't tell me you'd be driving a different vebicle!  You know you have to register your visitor vehicles and permanent vehicles with me."

She spent four hours outdoors in 110 degree weather hovering over a sweat-sick plumber fighting with decades' old bathtub parts.  "I can't afford you milking your time and overcharging me.  How much did that part cost?  Did it really NEED a new one?"

Widowed 30 years, she only emerges from her separate unit in the back of the duplex that houses one other single woman and myself to attend church.  All day Sundays.  She rides a bike, her wide-brimmed hat jammed low on her forehead, basket on the back fender, conjuring (I swear) visions of Miss Gulch on a terrorize-the-tenant mission.  Comes to my door with my mail in hand, trying to lean her way in while she asks personal questions about every single one of my postal items.  The only hope of ending a conversation is downright rudeness, "Have a nice day!" followed by a firm closing of the door, regardless where her shoulder or foot might be positioned.  Otherwise, she takes no breaks, even if the phone rings, a guest arrives, the UPS man wants my signature.  "Oh!  What did you order?  Do you [**gasp**] give your credit card information over the phone!"

She watches out her window, catches me as I get into my car to go to work.  "I'm sure you realize the light bulb over your carport space is burned out."  Whenever possible, I wait until Sunday to write my rent check, then slip it through the slot in her door, so I won't get trapped in an endless, rambling conversation wherein my part consists wholly and only of, "Uh huh, uh huh."

But certain moments, I just want to hug her, close her fidgety hands in both of mine, and whisper in her ear, "Sometimes, I'm lonely, too." 

[A big thank you to someone I know who actually co-exists with this individual; I've personally interacted with the landlady, and collected several of my own impressions; others were lifted directly from dialogue with my friend.  And yes, she does speak in Italics like that!]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Did anyone else find this prompt daunting?
In the ultimate turn of tail, I
(who have regularly and unselfconsciously written
countless 'people imprints' in my journal)
found myself gulping, then frozen.
Suddenly, this process had
An Official Name:
'Character Sketch' --
and my brain decided whatever I wrote
Had To Be Important.
You know, capitalized just like that.
Maybe even in quotes.  Or quotable.
Goodness, what mental tomfoolery!

Consequently, I didn't take pen to paper
until I got home from work today,
and only then (I'm certain)
because I knew I wanted to put up this post tonight.

Silly woman.

Also, I skittered away from writing about anyone
I know who reads this blog,
which (rats!) subtracted major fodder for
character sketching.
True story.
But I also thought, naw,
that would be TOO easy,
since I write about some of these folks
rather too frequently as it is.
I'm all about challenging myself, too,
not just you.


See you here!


  1. TONI MARONEY!!!!!

    I got a package from you, and I FREAKIN' LOVE IT...oh, all the Buddhas...all the textures... Let's just get married, Toni. You don't need to be a sister-wife....

    Thank you, thank you, thank you... They came at exactly the right moment.

    Will have to blog and share some pictures about them soon... I wish you could see the others sprawled across my dining room wall, with little quotes and delicious nuggets of wisdom scrawled across them.

    I just...love you. Thank you, friend.

  2. Juat dropped in to say hello. You have been a busy bee. I like the liscence plate idea. Have fun.


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