Man in Black.

September 27, 2008

The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled. ~ Michael Ondaatje

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and make weekends my time to be innovative and creative when blogging.  After all, I’m a creative writer at heart.  Fiction is my secret love.  It isn’t so much about constructing a story for me.  It’s about having characters loitering in the empty rooms of my mind, demanding attention, sometimes pounding with headache-inducing fists on closed doors.  They want out.  They are the ones with stories to tell.  I am nothing more than their outlet or medium, and they seem to use me as they see fit.  And despite always hating the act of writing poetry when I was younger, I have somehow come to appreciate the thought and detail that goes into weaving a spiderweb of words, which must somehow find their ties to one another in the end.

For those of you who have difficulty finding the time to get a creative writing session in among your regular freelance writing, I urge you not to forget that side of your writing personality.  That little pearl of innovation that hangs on the thread of sanity must be nourished and celebrated

In my creative writing sessions throughout university, one exercise my professor suggested for getting the juices flowing was a simple task.  Write a descriptive paragraph.  The whole point is to envision an image in your head.  This can be a person, place, or object.  Anything your heart desires.  Then describe it in as much detail as you can muster and in as unique a way as possible.  Your goal is to transmit the picture in your head to your reader through words without losing anything in translation, essentially bringing your thought or idea to life for someone else.  You might call it crafting a sensory experience.

I think every writer should give this exercise a try.

I have written about something from my past…perhaps an image that will always haunt me to some extent.  It’s an unsettling memory that reminds of the danger I managed to escape when I was a young woman, enraptured with the wrong kind of love, but faithful to it nevertheless.  I’m sure I’m not the only one out there with such an experience.  

Anyways, here it goes.


You remember him in the beginning.  You found him hunched against the schoolyard brick with a womb of leather draped across his back, legs outstretched like a basking hunting cat.  His face was a rainbow of pinks and blues, making his eyes appear a startling black, and there was the faintest hint of dried blood on his chin.  He had a permanent scowl stapled to his face.  It marred the feminine appeal of his swollen lips, but the curiousity of his kiss still flashed in the recesses of your mind.

He really wasn’t your type.  His skin was coarsened by the injustice of puberty, although striking for its cinnamon hue.  He reminded you of some exotic vagabond stolen from one of your forgotten fantasies, with a scar etched on his brow like a brand of danger.  A chain link ensnared his neck, passing for fashion, but it was no better than a dog collar.  He tongued his Malboro cigarette in a provocative fashion while you admired the gristle of his unshaved face and relished the bitter October winds that tousled his out-of-bed hair.  He finally looked at you – predatory, slow, and deliberate.  He held eye contact so long it became insulting, yet everything about him baited you…even the inky tresses and hostile grimace.

Your gaze descended to his tethered boots, which held the imprint of scuffmarks.  You tried to imagine him stalking the city streets at all hours, alone and indifferent. 

His faded jeans sat oversized on his jagged hips, shapeless as a curtain, but his t-shirt clung to his form as if he had just escaped a torrential downpour.  It made his ribs visible, poking past the barrier of his clothes, if only little.  He wasn’t your typical looker.  He wasn’t trying that hard.  There was just something about the unbreakable, violent artistry of his body that turned you on without meaning to – angular cuts, sharp curves, square jaw, and ravenous eyes.

He was your father’s worst nightmare.  In the end, falling in love with him was inevitable. 




  1. You pretty much nailed this father’s worst nightmare.

  2. I feel pretty much the same, like the characters and the story had chosen me, more than the other way around. There is a point in which all planning crumbles…

    It’s almost like when I was Game Master at Dungeons & Dragons. I had all it set up, had thought about everything, and then the players always did the totally unexpected.

    I wonder if Characters play a game called “Writers & Novels” 🙂

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