Thursday, November 8, 2012

FSF Challenge - Character



This week's writing challenge from Five Sentence Fiction ( Lillie McFerrin Writes ) is based upon the prompt "character." I went in a different direction from my last posts - don't want to get into a rut!



Bernie's Place

Image "Bad Times" by Maggie Smith / www.freedigitalphotos.net


Everyone always said he was such a character, never that he had character, but maybe that was the best way to be when you live on the streets. That's how he was able to hustle up enough money to get a little food, get a new not-too-used piece of clothing now and then, or just get by.

"But I tell you," he said to the mutt that frequented the block around the subway entrance he called home, "sometimes it hurts a little bit, you know, being that's all they see."

The small dog cocked its head sideways as if contemplating the words while Bernie squatted down against the cold, dirty wall and reached into a bag for the lunch he'd bought with a five-spot he'd found in the gutter.

"Here ya go," he said, offering his understanding friend a bit of the sandwich he'd pulled off before taking a bite.



Image "Bad Times" courtesy of Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


© 2012 K. R. Smith

19 comments:

  1. A sweet and sad story, beautiful writing :)

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    1. Thanks! I thought I'd try something different from what I'd posted for the last couple of challenges.

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  2. Very warm and touching vignette, and your writing is crystal clear.

    Cheers!
    JzB

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    1. How clearly I come across to others is always something I worry about. My writing is always clear to me (of course!), but I never know if it will be the same to others, especially when the sentences start getting longer. I appreciate the feedback!

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  3. It is sad that's all we so often see. Very poignant. I love that Bernie shared what little he had with the dog. How many in our society have so much and share nothing? Love writing.

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    1. Yes, he was showing his character unconsciously by his actions which made the story work (I hope). Thanks so much for reading!

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    2. Actions are always the best way to reveal character. Total success here, KR.

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  4. I think you've caught the tragedy of this character's situation very well, especially that amazing bond homeless folks seem to have with their dogs. Excellent character study.

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    1. I see a lot of "Bernies" every day at the DC Metro stations, so I guess that's where I got the idea for this post. Just like a painter, it's good to have a model. Thanks for taking the time to read! (And I'll get around to reading everyone else's posts, too, maybe later today...)

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  5. He has a beautiful character, sometimes words can describe what people fail to see. Lovely piece KR.

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    1. Thanks for reading and your thoughts! I really helps to understand how others see what I write.

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  6. And the dog seeks to understand and gives comfort and companionship where fellow humans fail. Excellent take!

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    1. While the dog certainly gives comfort and companionship, he (just an assumption on my part) may be just as much of a character as Bernie, doing what he has to do to get by. It's our interpretation of the dog's actions that makes the story work. Your interpretation is pretty much what I was aiming for here, so I'm glad it came across that way. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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  7. Very evocative. Good description and empathy for a man who is not just a character.

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    1. I get to see a fair number of people just like Bernie during the week, and I sometimes think there is a story worth writing in every one of them. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

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  8. Sharry used a good description so I shall steal it: your description had empathy. Nice connection having Bernie provide for someone/something that has less than him.

    Glad to be meeting you over the blogosphere :))

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    1. Sending virtual handshake over the 'net

      Thanks - for reading and commenting!

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  9. Another great gem in this weeks postings. I love how it goes from the universal view of him to showing a small moment of what truly is character.

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    1. I think this is the first time anyone has called something I've written a gem. I guess after having written as many as I have over the years, one of them had to be good!

      Thanks!

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