Sunday, May 8, 2011

Writing Exercise IV: Babies and Beer

“At night I feed him another bottle of milk and a jar of baby food. Maybe I should just feed him when he’s hungry," she says, sipping from her Corona while her blue-eyed baby boy sucks at a bottle from her lap. “You can play again with your little friend,” she says in a baby voice, gesturing across the café table. “Maybe she’ll let you use her Jumparoo again!”

“Yes, she’s a little dancer,” the other mother agrees. Her own infant daughter stands on her mom’s thighs, her stubby arms waving like propellers on a toy plane.

It’s all small talk over baguettes and beer. They’ve got ponytails and fashionable sunglasses and matching power strollers. They’ve stuffed the diaper bags—one of blue leather with large silver loops—underneath removable car seats.

The little girl protests with a high-pitched wail.

“You’re tired. I know. It’s a tough life,” her mother answers.

I adapted the piece above for an assignment for my MFA Writing Workshop at University of San Francisco: Create a short scene from a dialogue you heard, no more than 150 words.

I eavesdropped on this conversation while at a cafe in Marin, taking notes on words, gestures, descriptive "status markers" and tone. The challenge is in the compression.

My professor, Lowell Cohn, said "This is very effective. I love the tone and the details--the Corona, the power strollers, baguettes and beer."

Happy Mother's Day!


Anonymous said...

You certainly nailed the conversation/scene well.

soulyluna said...

very effective indeed. I can see those bouncy ponytails, big sunglasses and jogging strollers stuffed with fashionable bags and other such feminine/ motherly sundries.

I recently created a comic strip from a conversation with LJ. Perhaps i'll post it somewhere soon. Thanks for the idea!

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