#TeachersWrite Day 2: Character Quick-Write


Today’s writing task is from author Phil Bildner, challenging us to develop characters from observing those around us. Oh my, if this isn’t a southerner’s dream assignment! Being TOLD to people-watch for the craft of writing… why yes, I do believe I can accomplish this goal!

ISTE Crowd

I’m a people-watcher by nature. The act of social observation is something that flows through my veins like water rippling down a stream. It’s the purpose of people-watching that changes over time. I used to people-watch out of curiosity, intrigued by characteristics that vibrantly stood out against the crowd: the spiked porcupine hair, the ripped shirts and fall-to-your-knees baggy pants. Then I people-watched out of boredom, waiting for my daughter to be released from her ballet class; dance moms eagerly vying for position, nearly scrambling over one another to spotlight their darling virtuoso.

And then my purpose shifted. I was no longer interested in the external cloak strangers wrapped around their souls. Their clothes, their hairstyles, their speech; it was all a disguise, a defense, a deterrent. These characteristics merely shrouded their core beauty, a dank and musty shell of their divine calling. Who were these people who sat mere inches from my seat?

It was then that I sought their eyes: making contact, reaching out, extending a smile. Connection. The moment is always brief, fleeting. But in that moment you gain a glimpse of someone’s soul and the beauty that reflects back is breathtaking.

And then… they are gone.

The characters change, the props shift, another act begins. Yet, there is a piece of them now connected to you, a thin fiber woven into your spirit. These fibers create a tapestry of kindness, beautiful colors and fabrics that permeate every ounce of your being.

This is how characters develop, one thread at a time.

6 thoughts on “#TeachersWrite Day 2: Character Quick-Write”

  1. Dayummmmmm!

    I am walking through the local grocery store to complete today’s people-watching assignment, but I was trying to access this post as well. It wouldn’t load onthe first dozen attemtps, but I pesevered, knowing I wanted to read whatever you had conjured up. But this?


    I was expecting a few quirky character sketches, with the illuminting details that you seem to have an eye for. Or perhaps a couple vignettes, told from your always-see-the-best-in-others pont of view. But this?

    Mind blown. Heart filled. Wonderful.

    For the rest of this jaunt through the aisles of Mariano’s, I’m focusing on the eyes.

    Thank you.

    1. Humbled by your reaction, giggling at the thought of your haphazard trajectory of walking through a grocery store while looking down at your phone. You always know how to make me smile! Thank you for your heart-felt response to my early morning thoughts.

  2. Oh, how I loved reading this! I love the moment we observe ourselves shifting our focus and a new depth of understanding opens up! Well done!

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