A tale of two homecomings

Sorry for the lengthy absence, my friends. I've been really down on myself this month and not into the whole going-back-to-school-AGAIN deal, which makes a poor catalyst for writing. Or anything else, for that matter. Lucky for the blogging world, I'm in an incredible mood today in spite of many stupid inconveniences (parking lot clearings, fire drill, bad head cold, fish poop). So it's update time!

I have my four favorite professors this semester and I actually care about all the subjects I'm taking. This may be surprising since I was in my mother's room sobbing about the prospect of taking classes just last week, but the more I get into the rhythm the better my outlook becomes. Being here really is like being home in a way. Some part of me belongs here.

Reasons this semester will/already does kick ass: I'm finally going to read the classics, or at least a few of them, in western lit (but so far all we've done is Gilgamesh and Genesis - ick). My internship afforded me the chance to talk to Adam Ezra at length last week (Wanda was thrilled when she found out I actually got his phone number after she made me promise to). I'm taking philosophy for kicks and giggles (I know that sounds insane, but Brian Glenney is teaching it).

And then.....

Then there's playwriting.

I've only had one other class with Mark, the prof (I love how all my favorite profs refuse to be called by their last names), and I already like this one better, even though I was way nervous to be trying my hand at a new genre. I'm a novelist, not a playwright. I haven't written a play since like fifth grade when my best friend and I tried to write a Pokemon fan-fic saga for the theater.

That being said, as far as novels go, dialogue has always been my strength. It comes naturally. So this class is filled with the most fun part of writing! Yet I'm already learning so much about other elements of storytelling. That's what I love about writing classes: What you're learning tends to inform every other kind of writing you'll do.

So short story long, I'm having so much fun with my playwriting exercises that I want to post them here. For fun (and because The Pantsless One yelled at me yesterday for not blogging). This exercise is called "Unspoken Word." The idea is to convey a specific word through dialogue and actions but not state it outright. So without further ado, I give you The Homecoming.

POLLY (15, dressed stylishly, wearing Ugg boots; arms are crossed and she takes an irritated tone) and her MOTHER (late forties, looks like she hasn’t slept much) are in the pantry. MOTHER is staring at shelves of canned vegetables.

POLLY: Don’t ask me. I hate both.
MOTHER: (Pleasantly as she reaches for a can of peppers) You like the chili.
POLLY: No, Derek likes the chili. Just because Derek likes something doesn’t mean everybody does.
MOTHER: (Reaches instead for a can of corn) Well then I’ll make him the shepherd’s pie. He always liked that.
POLLY: Mmk. Whatevs.
MOTHER: (Raises voice) You know, Polly, you’re being a real brat. Derek’s been away for six months. Thank God we can have dinner with him at all… (trails off)
(POLLY glares at MOTHER, then drops her eyes but doesn’t argue back.)
MOTHER: I know things will be different when he moves back in, but try to be sympathetic, okay?
POLLY: Because I’m sure that’s what he wants, Mom. People feeling bad for him.
MOTHER: Don’t antagonize him, Polly. Don’t ask questions about the… place… or what he did, or why. Okay? Until things go back to normal, Derek gets treated like a prince.
POLLY: (mutters) Doesn’t he always?
MOTHER: That’s enough! Go upstairs and make sure all your razors and little pointy manicure things are out of the bathroom before he gets here.
POLLY: I already did.
MOTHER: (Sighs and rubs eyeballs hard) Just… try to be helpful, okay?
POLLY: (Softly) I’m making him Boston crème pie. From scratch.
(POLLY starts to cry)
POLLY: (Sobbing) Mom… what if he does it again?

Can you guess the unspoken word...?


Anonymous said...

I have a couple guesses, but I'm not sure between them. But I don't wanna say what I think said word could be, in case someone else wants to guess without reading other people's answers. But.. I think I know what the word is.

Amandasaurus said...

Well the idea is to guess, thou mammering mugwump. So guess!

heavealie said...

hmmm...was like derek in a rehabilitation center or something??confusing but what can it be,coming after six months so can it be he was in prison??anyways yeah liked that the conversation was clean and simple and would love to read further!!play writing is really fun but i can only add a dialogue on the spot as I'm really bad at writing conversations.writing all the face expressions and everything is a tough job so hats off!!keep writing!!

Katie McCoach said...

you are a great writer. Im in a bunch of writing classes too or have been so Im totally with you there on all that stuff. thats great you are taking playwriting, dialogue is my favorite part too, but i tried screenwriting for like a week and had to drop the class. there were real reasons behind dropping it, but part of it was cuz my boyfriend (a film major) was doing all my homework for me cuz i couldnt think of things. it was too bad though cuz if i could just get past the whole setup of a screenplay i may actually be able to write something. its great you are, and the dialogue was really good! good luck!

Anonymous said...

don't call people mugwumps. that's not nice. C:

I'd say the word is "attempted suicide." I guess that's two words...but they go together.

i'm so proud of you! Doing what you like and liking what you do. and doing a great job of it! Getting into BOSTON.COM! you're fan-freaking-tastic. C: you amaze me. fo sho.


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