Friday, June 8th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Meeting New People

Marty FeldmanThis morning I had breakfast with some folks I’d never met before. Lovely, lovely bloggers — with family in tow — including a guy heading off to the Naval Academy. (Wishing him the best of luck!)

We laughed a lot, and told stories, and traded slang terms for things…some I’d heard of, others I hadn’t.

(Scribbling furiously now into that book I keep with new words in it. What? You don’t have one of those?)

I enjoyed watching everyone order. We’d been drawn together by common interest (blogging) but everyone is still so different! Not one of us ordered the same thing for breakfast or to drink.

And as much as I enjoy meeting new people (Yes: So I can steal bits and pieces of them, chop them up, and toss them into the salad of my novels…) I have to admit there was a bit of dread there on the way over to the restaurant:

What if I didn’t like them? What if they didn’t like me? What is someone had a giant scar (caused by a giant’s, giant cudgel) on their face and I became obsessed with staring at it over the meal?

It could happen.

Luckily, it didn’t. And a good time was had by all.

Here’s Your Prompt

  • Write about a blind date: how you feel leading up to it, how you dress, what you anticipate will happen, what you expect that person to look like. Write, as well, about the initial moment of seeing that person. Did he or she meet your expectation or not? What was your initial reaction? Did your opinion change over the course of the date? (This exercise could be fictitious or real…)
  • If you’ve never been on a blind date, or don’t want to dream one up, write similarly about a job interview.
  • all
    Seemed like some brothers on a journey wide
    Gone forth, whom now strange meeting did befall
    In a strange land round one whom they might call
    Their friend, their chief, their father, for assay
    Of peril, which had saved them from the thrall
    Of death, now suffering. Thus the vast array
    Of those fraternal bands were reconciled that day.

    ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Revolt of Islam

  • There’s a man or a woman sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper, a magazine, or on an electronic device. Sit down (or sit your character down) beside them and strike up a conversation. Write it. In your prose, make certain to include the setting, what everyone is wearing, what’s going on in the area, your thoughts, etc. Don’t just write the dialogue.
  • Write about a time you were supposed to have a very important meeting — and the other party didn’t show up.
  • Write about meeting for the first time:
    • Your favorite school teacher
    • Your mentor
    • A policeman – during an “incident”
    • A politician
    • A priest, nun, rabbi, monk or other holy person
  • Other trace
    Survives, for worthy mention, of a pair
    Who, from the pressure of their several fates,
    Meeting as strangers, in a petty town
    Whose blue roofs ornament a distant reach
    Of this far-winding vale, remained as friends
    True to their choice; and gave their bones in trust
    To this loved cemetery…

    ~ William Wordsworth, The Excursion, Book Sixth, The Churchyard among the Mountains

  • Write about the first time you met your spouse. Or, if you’re writing fiction, write a sex scene between two (or three!) people who are meeting for the first time.
  • Trippers and askers surround me;
    People I meet—the effect upon me of my early life, or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
    The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
    My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
    The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
    The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations;
    Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
    These come to me days and nights, and go from me again,
    But they are not the Me myself.

    ~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1900)

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