Saturday, November 27, 2010

From Vignette to Short Story

The last couple of days have been productive.  It all began Wednesday evening as I settled down in front of my laptop.  I decided to re-write a vignette I originally wrote in 2008.  It was merely a scene of about 800 words and I wondered how far I could expand it.  I had made a preliminary attempt on Tuesday but wasn’t happy; it needed more.  I was staring at my laptop thinking how am I going to do this?  Well, as it often happens, I asked myself this question out loud.  Yes I talk to myself, I’m sure plenty of you do too, and in any case I was alone and nobody heard me.  Wait a minute!  I heard me!  And then it dawned on me to read it out loud to myself to determine how the reader would ‘see’ the story.  I got comfortable, loosened my stiff muscles and began to read.  And that’s when it happened.  But before I tell you, let me explain something first.
You see, sometimes I tend to ‘give life’ to inanimate objects, give them a personality and try to ‘see’ things from their perspective.  Okay, so I may seem certifiably insane, but before you judge me blame my fifth grade English teacher, whose name I can’t remember but who obviously left his mark on me.  He once gave us an assignment to write an essay from the perspective of an inanimate object and he used the TV as an example.  I got an A based on my article about the lunch tray, his feelings and the abuse he was exposed to daily by lunch ladies and students alike.
This experience had a profound effect on me and I grew up to be one of those people that talk to the copy machine at work because it’s jammed and I need copies for the meeting I’m running late to.  My reasoning is that if I ‘show’ appreciation for the high volume of work our copy machine does, she - yes she’s a girl, will be nice to me in return and give me the copies I need now.  I apply the same principle to the fax machine, the printer, etcetera as needed; and as you may have noticed, I apply the appropriate gender category as well.  Now that I have given you a glimpse into my insanity, I will continue my story.
As I read out loud, a tiny light turned on somewhere in a recessed alcove of my mind.  This light illuminated a beautifully ornate red door with wrought iron scrollwork.  On the door there is a black gothic sign with large intimidating red letters in vampiric font that reads "BLOCK".  I know of this door because I’ve been suffering from its effects for some time now.  Before I could discern the slightest feeling of despondency, the knob turned and the door opened allowing the teeny-tiny me that was locked inside to come out and remove the "BLOCK" sign.  She replaced it with a “WORK IN PROGRESS” sign, winked at me, returned to the room and sat in front of her tiny laptop prepared to write.  I wrote for a few hours; exhausted, I and the teeny-tiny version of me retired for the night at 2:54 am.  The next day was Thanksgiving and I added this to the many things I’m grateful for.  On Friday, I parked myself in front of my laptop again enthusiastic about writing.  I didn’t want to pressure her too much for she can be temperamental and slam the door shut.  But I worried needlessly because she was ready to work too, and together we’ve expanded an 800 word vignette into a 3,000 word short story.  I’m very excited to have teamed up with my inner self in a productive manner and I hope this is a sign of things to come.

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