Monday, January 18, 2010

Made up lives day 1: Marie

For anyone stumbling upon this and thinking I've gone bonkers writing about some random woman, let me just remind you that this post is the first of five I intend to write every day this week where, as a creative writing exercise, I select some random person who walks past me and then write a made up backstory about them based purely on my gut reaction from looking at them. What's written below is transcribed word for word from my notebook, and is based on a lady I saw walking past Starbucks in Westfield today.


Physical descripion:

• Height: 5 foot 5" or thereabouts
• Dark hair cut in a bob style
• Olive complexion
• Wearing a dark winter coat
• Average build
• She has a warm smile on her face

Marie has come to Westfield for the first time with her friend Anna. Both have taken the day off work, timed so as to avoid the crush of the sales.

They have travelled in from nearby Ealing where Marie lives with her husband of two years. The couple have no children, something that Marie is happy to maintain despite her husband's desire for a family. She has not told him of this fact in the hope that he will eventually give up on the idea. In the meantime she continues to secretly take the pill.

Despite not having bought anything, Marie is enjoying her day out. She wishes every day could be like this, and is in fact dreading going back to her job tomorrow. She works as a receptionist at a small solicitor's office, but finds the work dull and uninteresting. She frequently doodles on her legal pads while taking the minutes during meetings, a small indication of her long-held but never acted upon desire to enroll in an art class. Every year she promises herself that she will do it, and every year she fails to go through with it.

Some days she resigns herself to the fact that her life will never rise above suburban mediocrity, but for the most part she is content.


CyberPete said...

I love that she secretly takes the pill.

I want to know more about Marie though. You must make them longer, to satisfy my need for prying, I suppose.

Tim said...

Don't worry, I think the more I get into the mindset of doing these the longer - and better - they'll be!

At least I hope so…!

the projectivist said...

I love it! I think you should make it longer and i think you should do 2 per day!

Marie sounds a restrained sort of person. I bet she went to that shopping centre so that she could carry out her shoplifting habit. She gets a buzz from it, even though she steals things she doesn't need, things like BBQ scrapers (she doesn't even own a BBQ) and a shiny silver cat bowl (her cat died 3 years ago). Today she was thinking of taking something useful, something like a Lemon Zester so that she could make that pasta with lemon and chicken that she saw on Masterchef last week.

Tim said...

Two!? Here's a compromise - how about I just do one … but make it longer? As I said in my previous comment, I think the more into the swing of it that I get, the longer they'll end up.

By the end of the week you'll probably be begging me to shut the hell up!

Today's effort was a little compromised by the fact it was a) my first go, and b) done in Westfield because of an unforeseen need to go there, which takes a little bit longer to get to than my usual Starbucks. That said, you've put a whole new spin on Marie's life … do you know her or something?!

the projectivist said...

Did you happen to pick up a Lemon Zester while you were there?

Tim said...

No, I was in a bit of a rush truth be told!

Tara said...

CyberPete beat me to it, I like the secret she has about taking her birth control pills.

Great start to your creative writing exercises!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Much as I detest being nice, I like this just as it is. The brief style reminds me of one of my favourite Neil Gaiman short stories: The Wedding Present.
I think the brevity allows the reader to fill in the gaps with his/her/its imagination.
Although, I do clamour for more just like 'Petra & The Projectivist.

Tim said...

Well thank you, IDV old chap!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Don't get used to it. It's back to to stalking and lascivious commenting from now on.

Tim said...

I would expect nothing less.

CyberPete said...

I'm thinking, where's your new installment.

Tim said...

That's a very good question!

There's a story coming…

Suffice to say that the next instalment will be with you tomorrow.

CyberPete said...


BEAST said...

Tim has obviously run off with Marie or is bound and gagged in the back of IVD's car

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

Hello there.. First time visit.. I really thought that that was a believable fake story.. it's a good way to exercise your brain ..

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Oh shit! I forgot he was in there, BEAST. It's been two days!

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Hello!

Beast - Lords no, she wasn't my type!

Mrs Hairy Woman - Hello!! Thanks for the compliment! I struggled a bit with the first one, but hopefully the next few should be a bit better!!



Sorry for the delay in posting the next couple of entries - I actually worked from home on Tuesday so I saw *NO ONE* and then on Wednesday life kind of got in the way. It won't happen again, honest.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Ah, yes, sorry about that. I hope you're not too squashed?

Wednesday's Life Day, is it?

* makes note in stalking diary *