Writing Practice and Meeting up with your Muse
Writing Leap #71
Does your character have empathy? Does he or she have to learn, maybe the hard way, what it feels like to walk in another person’s shoes? Or is your character a naturally sensitive soul? Showing empathy or the lack thereof is one way to portray your character’s deepest self.
Here’s my story where a group of children are shocked into understanding what it feels like to be different.
Trick or Treat
The wind was fluttering the red leaves on the big red maple tree in front of mean old Mr. Mooney’s house. Whoosh! The setting sun cast creepy shadows along the walk to his porch. It was Halloween and the shadows were extra creepy, like long arms that could reach out and GRAB YOU!
“Shall we risk it?” asked a small boy in a big Batman cape. “My mom says he’s a witch, only he’s a man.”
“I say let’s do it,” said a pint-sized astronaut, safe behind his helmet.
“You know he has the best candy on the street,” added the cowboy, fingering his toy gun.
They marched up to the porch.
“Can I come too?” said a small girl in a Hillary Clinton mask and a sweatshirt that said, “Girls Rule.” Oh, how she wished her voice didn’t sound so shaky. But she was Hillary Clinton and she was going to ask, even though these boys just today had called her “freak” again.
“No way,” hissed Batman.
“We don’t want you around, freak. Who has one big ear and one little ear?” said the cowboy.
“Yeah, so weird,” said the astronaut.
The front door opened. Mr. Moody! “Come on up here, Miss Hillary Clinton. No, no, you boys just wait out here on the porch.”
“Well, well, Miss Hillary. Shall we give those boys the what-for?” He mumbled a few words and opened the door.
“One of my ears just grew bigger than the other!” said the astronaut.
The cowboy’s hands flew up to his ears. “Mine too!”
“And mine!” said Batman.
“So, you three.” Mr. Moody shot a terrifying look at the boys who were clutching their ears, mouths open. “Your ears are going to stay like that for five days. After that, I just think you might have something to say to Miss Hillary here.”
The boys suffered terrible taunts about one big ear and one little ear. Their friends wouldn’t sit with them at lunch and held their noses when any one of them passed by. Even the teachers snickered about them behind their backs.
Five days passed and the boy’s ears went back to being the same size. “We’re sorry,” they said to the little girl. “It sucks to be different. But we’re your friends now, for always. We want you to be brave.”
The little girl smiled at them and patted her “Girls Rule” sweatshirt. She was never taking it off. She and magical Mr. Moody were now best friends forever.
Happy, Spooky Halloween, Writers,
LINKING THE ARTS
Word: The little girl with one ear much bigger than the other wishes in her own way that another word for empathy could be spontaneous kindness, the great equalizer.