Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Moment #60: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

I was struggling with what to write about for today's Monday Moment. No recent moment was coming to mind. The only thing that floated through my brain was watching the Oscars last night.

The Oscars are cool, right? For me, like most, the best part is seeing the dresses and hair and make-up and jewelery (oh my!). That got me thinking about those times in your life when you get to or have to dress up. Those times, good or bad, are a big deal.

Why my own personal, long-ago memory popped up, in a very vivid way, I'm not so sure. But the thought made me recall a time in middle school, on the night of a choral concert. Choir has NEVER been my thing. I've always been a lip-syncer. But I remember the dress I wore that night. It was gray, with these bright color blocks of pink and blue, and I wore matching opaque, pink tights (woo-wee). The 7th and 8th graders were also performing that night and at one point we were all lined up in the hallway. Some of the 7th grade boys started barking and howling, as quietly as 7th-grade boys can, and I was pretty sure those sounds were directed at me. But see, I felt as pretty as a 6th-grade girl can in my bright dress and tights, and I thought those noises were complimentary, not a put down. (Ah...that make me so sad for my 6th-grade self).

A funny thing about that night (a truly horrible night) is what happend next. I sat down on bleachers as we waited to sing. This was an older school with wooden, falling apart bleachers. When I shifted, I felt a searing pain in my upper, inner thigh (a tender spot, no?). I was pretty sure a piece of the bleacher was now in my leg, but what could I do? It's not like I could reach up my dress and feel it, or even take a peek. Can you imagine? So I suffered through the singing, suffered through the pain, but thankfully I didn't yet know know that all that barking/howling business was mean...mean...mean. Not only that, but I ended up in the ER after the concert, having a chunk of wood removed from my tender thigh (we're talking an inch long and quarter of an inch wide).

Side note: even though those nasty boys were howling and barking, who knows if it was at ME. It's a good reminder that teens think any words or whispers, good or bad, must be about them.

So I jump from the Oscars to an awful choral concert...don't ask how I made the leap. It just happened.

When did your character get to or have to dress up? How did they feel about it and how did it actually go?


Jane Makuch said...

Sorry to hear about the wood "shank", what an awful thing to deal with while performing, and in the six grade! I think "Barking Boys" could make for a good title.

Yat-Yee said...


I remember once putting on a new dress, which I paired with opaque white tights and my mom's peep-toed white wedge.

And then realized it afterwards, that I had worn it backwards, as in, the buttons were supposed to go in front...

Nobody gave me grieve but the feeling as the realization hit is not one I've forgotten.

Faith Pray said...

It's like when people wave in my direction - I have learned to look behind me first, in case that beaming smile is meant for the gorgeous person standing over my shoulder.
Having barely limped through middle school, I would venture to say that the howling boys could easily have been trying to insult you. But just think, those episodes in life grow us into deeper people. Or bitter people. The worst of it is that the splinter from hell has seared that night into your brain forever!