Writing Practice and Meeting up with your Muse
Writing Leap #73
Sometimes a character may feel compelled to do something that he or she thinks is a little crazy. Your readers may not expect this from your character but the unexpected always makes them turn the page faster. The caveat is, however, that “the crazy” probably shouldn’t come out of nowhere and thus make your character unbelievable.
A little “crazy” is one way to add layers to your character and avoid one-dimensionality.
Mike was a regular guy. People liked him. He smiled, said “hello” easily and never got too ruffled when things didn’t go his way. He wasn’t one to get overly excited by, say, a bright blue sky or the flowers in his wife’s garden. Oh, he admired the garden from afar. He just didn’t want to get in there and dig.
What Mike loved was his family and his work. He trained engineers. His young daughter gave him a bunch of zinnias from the garden to put on his desk at work. They were yellow, orange, pink and one big red one. The red one caught his eye right from the beginning. As the zinnias began to wilt he threw them out one by one into the wastebasket. But not the red one. It was as fresh as when his daughter had picked it three months later.
Mike could not get over the tenacity of this flower. He began to talk to the zinnia, privately, in his head. “You are something,” he thought. “What stick-to-it-ness.” And as the weeks went by and the flower stayed red and perky Mike whispered to it, “I love you.”
When the zinnia finally began to wither after four months of red radiance Mike accepted that the flower needed to rest now. This zinnia had almost made it to Christmas!
Mike snuck into the garden making sure nobody spotted him. “This is, of course, totally nuts,” he thought. He buried the red zinnia in a clump of dirt in the corner of the garden that had been put to bed for the winter. After months of loving the red zinnia, putting it to rest in the garden seemed right. He felt good. Really good. He just wouldn’t tell anybody, that’s all.
Happy Writing Everyone!
LINKING THE ARTS
This is a quote from the 19th century American poet, Walt Whitman. It’s from the poem “Song of Myself” included in his work “Leaves of Grass.”
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.”
I think Walt Whitman explains Mike and perhaps all of us.
Three different responses to a red zinnia