Thursday, May 17, 2012

Writing challenge: Insignificant

I chuckle at the way we define ourselves in this world. We often feel obligated to answer key questions about our career, our marital status or our investments as if proving ourselves to someone. I enjoy listening to conversations in malls, on trains, in offices…there’s that old joke about “be careful or you will end up in my novel.” But I listen to people as they get to know each other. There are “significant things” people want to know depending upon the person. Where are you from? What denomination are you? Where did you graduate from? How long have you worked there? Who’s your broker? Have you volunteered there long?

But I like to look deeper. The “insignificant” things make us unique and really define who we are. Take my girls, for instance. I can answer the “significant” things about each one of the. Yes, my daughters make good grades, play musical instruments, have a strong faith and are really good kids overall. I feel confident that they will be prepared for the future, whatever that holds. I know that education and strong roots are important. But I love the little things about them that you see only when you really get to know them, the things that others may see as insignificant.

One daughter refuses to let people make negative comments about others. She reminds those near her not to gossip, but to always find the positive in a person. One daughter sees the small things in life. She can find a ladybug or a tiny flower that I overlooked. She sees the rays of the sun before I do. Both daughters enjoy a good conversation. My daughters love mismatched socks. They draw hearts on their hands. They like cheese melted on saltine crackers. They fall asleep to music--one to contemporary Christian and one to country music. Both like history. One eats peanut butter on a spoon. One cuts her own hair. One can’t whistle.

Writer’s challenge: Create a character for a short story based only on “insignificant” aspects of life. Don’t identify a career or a school major or financial status. Try to write at from 500 to 1000 words about this character using only small details of life. 

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