Thursday, September 1, 2011

30-day short story challenge - Day 1

Nearly 20 years ago (!) I took a creative writing class at our local university.  One of our assignments was to write a scene in a short story which included: an old man, a wheelchair, a hamster, a pair of pants (I think), and a newspaper.  I wrote, somewhat prophetically I guess, about a woman who cares for her ailing grandfather full-time.  I was able to write the scene, but I never figured out where I was going with it.  Now I'm curious to find out.

I decided to participate in the 30-day writing challenge at .  This site provides daily assignments and an opportunity to post your work and receive feedback from others.  Each assignment draws you further into your story, and by the end of the month (hopefully) your story will be written.

Today's assignment was to write a 300-word description of our protagonist.  I wrote about 200 words before I realized the description was supposed to be physical.  When I realized my mistake it was like pulling teeth to get myself to sit down and think about what Kate looks like.  This will be an interesting month.

The similarities between me and Kate are obvious, but there are differences, too.  If you know me personally, please don't assume I feel like Kate is feeling and flood me with phone calls.  I appreciate it.  :)

Kate is a single woman in her early thirties who has moved in with her grandfather in order to provide full-time care for him, including meal preparation and assistance with personal tasks.  Kate has always been close to her grandfather and she is glad to do this, but after one year she is beginning to feel as if her life will never return to its former routine, which included teaching (something...) and owning her own home.  Kate is ready for a change of some sort, but she isn’t sure what that change could be.  There are no other options for her grandfather except a nursing home, and Kate is not willing to move her grandfather yet.  Kate knows she enjoys working with children and dogs, reading and writing, but she is bored with her life and herself and needs to remember what makes life worthwhile.  Kate is an intelligent woman with a dry, sarcastic wit.  She prefers to be alone or in a small group of people she knows well.  When she is not working with her grandfather Kate…does stuff which I hope to flesh out as the story grows.

Kate’s appearance has dulled over the past year; the browns and grays she usually wears reflect her graying brown hair and pale, freckled skin.  She feels that she herself, her personality, has paled.  She stoops slightly, and traces of the old woman she will someday be have begun to push through to the surface.  She is sloughing off her former, vibrant self and she mourns its loss but does not know how to regain it.

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