Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where Did That Come From? -- Character

Trash day. I sat on the sofa with my baby on my lap. I looked out the window and saw a shocking thing. An old man, heavyset and rumpled, was going through the trash can across the street. He would pull out items and discard them by the can until he found something interesting. He took his prize across the street and added it to a shrine that grew as he emptied the trash. He went around the yard of another neighbor and collected twigs and branches. Then he would drop the twigs into a pile in another neighbor's yard. He must have spent twenty minutes creating his work of art. When he was done, he grabbed a pair of jeans from the left overs and rode away on his bicycle.

As a mom of young kids, it was a little creepy at the time. Several of the neighbors called the police. And they didn't find him.

Later, I found myself thinking about what kind of person he might be. I imagine he probably had some sort of mental instability. But what if he didn't? What if he just went around creating random art out of trash all over the place? What would he be like as a character? And how would I describe him?

How about you, friends? Have you ever come across someone that you wanted to make into a character?

*If you haven't entered the contest to win a copy of Matched by Ally Condie, don't forget to check it out here.

8 comments:

Chantele Sedgwick said...

That would have freaked me out just a little bit... I'm glad you wrote it down though. Things like that make for good characters, or good situations in stories. Now I'm wondering what happened in his life that made him get to that point. Interesting to think about. Thanks for sharing! :)

Myrna Foster said...

That is really interesting. I'm glad the police didn't find him though.

Krista V. said...

Now that's an old man I'd like to talk to. (Most old people are pretty interesting, but he sounds even more so.) I really think you could develop an entire novel around this one character.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hmm...that is interesting. Someone like that really can conjure up a lot of "what ifs". I have met some interesting "personalities" that I've incorporated into characters a few times.

Anita said...

Oh, I run across people I wanna write about ALL THE TIME!

Jolene Perry said...

There are a million people I'd love to turn into a character, some of them I have...

Shannon said...

I know several people who would make excellent characters. Only problem - their behavior is so out there, I don't think many people would believe their authenticity. =)

Interesting topic.

Sarah J Clark said...

Fascinating. I wish I had that kind of creepy in my neighborhood. Instead, we got neighbors that have just begun to accumulate very large keepsakes to decorate their yard... washing machines, boats, bed frames. I can't wait to see what they do at Christmas. ;)