writing exercises

Character Sketch: Jock

What this is: Every day (well, I try to make it daily, but lately it’s been more hit than miss), I do short 10-15 minute writing exercises as a warm-up. Usually, I take these exercises from real life scenarios: jotting down overheard conversations, for instance, or describing someone I see on the bus. This one came from a friend’s Facebook post about his landlord.

Jock — really, that’s his name, or at least that’s who I make the monthly rent checks out to — used to hang-glide in Colorado. Then one day he crashed into the side of the mountain, instead of swooping in for a softer landing in the gently-sloped valley below. Now he retools old cars and races them. His “franken-cars,” he calls them. He says he wins three times out of five.

He also owns the coolest residential building in the whole town. It’s this old inn that was converted into a home. Parts of it predate the Civil War.

Yesterday, I was over there helping him fix the staircase in the old section. There were a few steps that were slanting precariously, and one in the middle had come clean off, forcing you to step over it to the one above. It was a trip to the ER waiting to happen, he’d said.

After we’d been working a few hours, Jock straightened up and surveyed the section we’d been working on. “Well,” he said, “it ain’t like new fixed, but at least you can tell someone’s been working on it. Beer?”

I pulled out my watch from the front pocket of my jeans. “It’s two-thirty-five,” I said.

“So? It’s Ireland somewhere,” he said over his shoulder – he was already on the first floor landing and heading straight for the kitchen.

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