For my third post, I chose to complete the assignment titled Creating Your Own Character. The instructions asked me to write about a paragraph of backstory, including the following information:
- The character’s appearance
- The character’s likes
- The character’s dislikes
- The character’s personality
- The character’s place in the world
I sat down to a blank Microsoft Word document and thought about how I could cram all of that information into one, not-so-boring paragraph. Then I stopped worrying about that and just daydreamed about my character. I decided to write my description in first-person and considered the relationship between the characters. My narrator was a woman doing community service at a senior center, and the character I was describing was a passive elderly woman estranged from her family. Focusing on the disgust of the narrator allowed me to easily create several paragraphs that answered all of these questions. Here’s what I wrote:
Evangeline Sullivan had deep-set eyes and a large forehead that stood out prominently under a wispy layer of blue-tinged ringlets. She had carried the same tube of Revlon Cherries in Ice lipstick in her purse since 1996 because she despised the Walmart where she’d purchased it. There had been a gum-chewing boy there with tattoos who called her “lady.” I think he reminded her of her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, but regardless, she hated tattoos and vulgarity of any sort.
I told Evangeline multiple times that she could purchase that lipstick from anywhere—Walgreens, CVS—but she refused to shop anywhere but Walmart. Her loyalty was only hindered by my inability to answer this question: Will that boy be there?
I had been playing Blackjack with Evangeline and the other senior citizens on Wednesdays for three months now. Evangeline was the quiet one, the one who never screamed “hit me.” I always had to ask her twice if she’d like another card and she’d nod eagerly and smile an adorable, denture-enhanced grin at me.
So one day Evangeline and I got to chatting over Jello. (Evangeline loved Jello—unless it was green or pudding could be made available.) As always she told me how much she liked it when I visited and said I reminded her of her daughter, who lived in Vermont. This Vermont daughter seemed like quite the piece of work: Apparently, she had moved Evangeline down to Florida “for her own good.”
See, Evangeline’s husband was still alive. He had Alzheimer’s though, and the Vermont daughter thought it would be best if poor Evangeline didn’t have to watch him suffer. So she shipped Mrs. Evangeline Sullivan off to the Sunshine State without so much as an “Is this what you want?” But Evangeline never complained. She liked the sun, I suppose, which was good for her joints. And now here we were playing Blackjack together as if everything in the past no longer mattered.