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Wednesday Writing Exercise II

March 19, 2014

Exercise: Scene/Summary

i) Write half a page to a page about a conversation you had this week. Include as much detail as you can – eg: what you talked about; memorable lines of dialogue; where you were, the weather; the time of day; what mood you were in; how the conversation affected your mood – everything you can think of.

 ii) Now sum up the experience in three to five lines. What are the most important points? Why did this particular conversation stay in your memory?

Scene:

I’m waiting for a bus on Moreland Road when a neatly-dressed but unshaven elderly man approaches me.

‘Excuse me, how do I …? I need to get to Nicholson Street and I don’t know how … what do I …?’

I’m having trouble understanding him through his accent (Greek? Italian?) and the clamour of morning peak-hour traffic. ‘Sorry, what is it you’re trying to do?’

‘What?’

‘What do you want?’ I try to make this brusque question sound as polite as possible.

‘I … you see I had the car for fifty years, and now I don’t know – how do I get a ticket?’

‘Ah! Well, there’s a train station just over there.’ Even as I say this I’m not sure this is right; does the Myki machine dispense new cards or just top up existing ones? ‘Or a newsagent’s, you can get one there.’

A  look of exasperation crosses his face and, as people under duress are apt to do, he starts taking his frustration out on the messenger (me). ‘You mean I have to go all the way over there for a ticket, and then come all the way back?’

‘It’s ridiculous,’ I agree. I see my bus is coming and get out my own Myki card. ‘You need one of these.’

‘You used to be able to get the tickets on the tram,’ he grumbles in a subdued tone. ‘They make it very difficult for the people.’

‘Yeah, the old system was much better.’

He seems a bit embarrassed now by his outburst. ‘Sorry,’ he says, and wanders off.

From the window of the bus I see him again at the corner, complaining to somebody else.

Summary:

I was approached at the bus stop by an elderly man wanting to know how to buy a tram ticket. When I told him he’d have to go to a train station or newsagent, he was very upset.

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