The writing exercise during the session on “Characters” on Saturday June 21, 2012 was to “Choose a main character that you previously created or write a brief character sketch using the headings provided on the board. -> Your main character invites you to his/her place for dinner. What sort of home does he/she have? How is it furnished or decorated? Any family, roommates, pets? What is served? What do you talk about over dinner?”
This is the first draft of what one participant wrote as part of this exercise:
Janet invited me to her home for dinner. This was a total shock. I knew a bit about her abused past, but after working with her for a year, this was the first time she showed any indication of wanting to be a friend.
When I arrived at her home, I felt like I had stepped into a magazine picture. The initial sight was breathtaking. Flowers lined the walkway to the steps leading to what looked like a surround-the-house veranda. Flowering bushes framed the front and disappeared around both sides. In the middle of the front yard was a rock garden overflowing with forget-me-nots. There was an extremely tall tree visible over the rooftop. Partially hidden from view was one of those really old lawn swings. You know the kind made of wood, and you sit facing each other. For it’s age, it looked in better shape than I felt.
The inside of the house was just as spectacular. The walls were dressed in green panelling with just a touch of brown sprinkled through it. I had not seen this type of paneling since I was little. From the kitchen wafted the smell of something I could not quite identify, but it made my mouth water. Yes, Pavlov, the smell of cooking food does make a person salivate.
On the mantle above the fake fireplace were pictures of a little girl and some trophies. Being nosy, I just had to go closer for a look. Wow, these were Tae Kwon Do trophies! White belt, yellow belt, green belt. This lady is not to be messed with! As I scanned the room I could see that the furniture was not the newest nor of the top designer-quality, but it was clean. The armchair I was sitting in was really comfortable. Dad, eat your heart out. This one’s mine.
Jane came from the kitchen accompanied by the young girl from the pictures on the mantle. I was introduced to Janelle. Janelle looked like an angel with her long golden-blond hair framing her round cherubic face. She had a glowing smile that could melt snow. Janelle informed me that she was “This many,” raising her hand and showing five fingers, and would be going to school in thirty more sleeps. “Oh, and my mommy’s the bestest cook.” When I asked her what her mommy was cooking, she just gave me an impish smile and said it was a surprise.
Supper was announced, and Janelle escorted me to the dining room. I took my seat and Jane brought in a dish that looked like macaroni and cheese, but it sure didn’t smell like it. I could see macaroni, cheese, ground beef, small pieces of onion, and parsley flakes sprinkled on top. Jane replied that she calls this dish ‘Macaroni and Cheese Lasagna’. Okay, you win. Macaroni and cheese doesn’t have to look or taste crappy. I was amazed she remembered an offhand comment I made so many months ago about not liking macaroni and cheese (‘crappy cheese’).