Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Writing exercise

Didn't really feel I had much to say today, but I knew I had to write something. I'm usually a victim of over-plotting any story I write, and so today I tried to experiment with a train-of-thought story; start off with a name or an interesting phrase, and just go off. Well, it's overly descriptive, and in desperate need of an ending, but I did write four paragraphs by the seat of my pants. So that's promising.

Merrick Sanders was, to be perfectly blunt, a geek. No, not a geek, because geek isn’t really an insult now: he was a nerd, totally and utterly. He worked as a clerk in a busy legal office, on the ninth floor, and the highlight of his day was when he walked to the elevator to head to the basement to grab some more staples, or manila envelopes, or white-out tape. The elevator was right by a south-facing window, and as he waited for the elevator to arrive, he would gaze out the window, down to the street, over twenty feet down, to the girl who ran the balloon stand.
The girl who ran the balloon stand was plump; her hips strained against the one-size-fits-all black-and-white striped pants, and her breasts were so constricted by the yellow and red blouse that she had difficulty inflating the balloons in less than five breaths. Her green-and-black checkered hat rested lightly on her head, nestled in a mass of tangled red hair.
There wasn’t much business to be had at the balloon stand, most of the time. Occasionally a child would dump a pile of sticky change and ask for a candy-red helium balloon, and sometimes people would put out a little more for a balloon animal – always saying they were for someone else, but she felt she knew better – but the woman usually stood alone, not gregarious but still inviting, waiting patiently for someone to come and buy a balloon.
That’s how Merrick saw her, almost all the time: standing straight, her hands behind her back, looking at all the people that walked straight past her stand with a pleasant smile on her face. He often wished that someone would look at him that way. He often wished, truth be told, that someone would look at him with more than a brief glimpse of recognition. The people in his office seemed grey to him. They didn’t always dress in grey, and they weren’t walking around with imaginary rain clouds over their heads, but the way they interacted with people was shabby and stale; light passed through too much frosted windows, casting the room in a dull grey glow. After months of looking at her through the window, her light shining through the hallway, he realized he had fallen in love with her, from nine stories up.

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