Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Writing an Amalgam

The young woman in “Sweeper’s Peepers” was an amalgam.

Yes, on my last work trip I saw someone with very dark hair and blue eyes; there was a Subway employee sweeping the floor while I ate; and there was a woman who somewhat comically heard me wrong when I mentioned her eyes.

Rather than write separately about all three, I decided to combine them into one person. I hear “real” writers do this all the time, which is one way they are able to put the disclaimer in their books saying, “characters depicted in this work of fiction… not real people… blah blah blah.”

On the plane ride into the customer site (or the nearest airport, anyway), I saw a little girl, maybe about four or five years old, sitting directly across the aisle from me. A scruffy man I guessed to be her grandfather sat next to her. Her hair was very dark — almost black, yet she had pale skin along with bright blue eyes that nearly glowed.

At the Subway, which was the only fast food establishment in the customer’s town or within 15 miles of it, I saw a young, hefty woman sweeping the floor, and except for the parts about her eyes and my getting between her and the Thank You trash can, that scene went down exactly as I described it.

On my way back home, at the airport security point where someone checks the travelers’ ID and boarding pass before letting them go through the scanners, an older woman checked my driver’s license and used her neon yellow highlight pen to make an approving mark on my boarding pass. I noticed her eyes were a shade of green I rarely see, and, hoping that the fact I most likely never would see her again decreased her suspicion that I was flirting with her (I was not), I commented that they were nice. Our dialog played out as I depicted it in “Sweeper’s Peepers.”

So, while the scene itself (except for my stopping Sweeper and talking directly to her) was completely real, the character was a combination of three different people — all complete strangers — whom I saw during the trip. I guess I wrote it as practice just to see how it felt.

5 Responses to Writing an Amalgam

  1. It was very authentic, Mark. Came across just as if it was something that had happened to you. I mean, well, it WAS something that happened to you, but really it was three things and you squashed them all together as if they were one. Very creatively done!

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  2. Simon РAs usual, thanks for the feedback. Blogs seem almost pass̩ now. Their entries are too long for most folks to bother reading.

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  3. What? What was that comment Mark? It was too long for me to read in full.

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  4. Interesting read, Mark. I’m making a conscious effort to get back to my blog. For myself and the therapeutic effects mostly… I can’t bear the thought of dying blogs. There would be too many people out there holding in too many things. If we ever (as members of the human race) needed an outlet for venting and sharing, it’s now.

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  5. Wink – Great points! I find it harder to stick to it because I look at a computer screen all day for work, and my eyes are ready for a respite by the time I finish. Then I’ll write two or three entries at once and schedule them for automatic posting. I don’t use my blog for venting, though, because it’s not anonymous at all (which I wish I had thought of from the beginning).

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