Exercise #119 : "Pam's Scene Objective (Edward's Porch)"
In The Power of the Actor, Ivana Chubbuck shows actors how to use their emotions to empower a goal. Actors identify their characters' overall objective as well as their scene objective. Applying this to writing, assume your character is "Pam." Her overall objective is to prove that she is a really nice person, and her scene objective is to make friends with "Edward," her new neighbor, who is blind and has a very difficult personality. The scene takes place on Edward's porch.
The red tulips were freshly plucked and placed in a clay pot with fertilizer. Today was the day, her only chance. Pam hesitated at her front door. How would he react? What would he do? But none of that mattered. She had to try.
Pam stepped lightly out of her house onto the stoop. Across the street, Edward was sitting in his rocking chair like always, his cane leaning nearby against the whitewashed walls of his home.
"Hello, Mr. Blauers!" she called, hiding her trepidation with a warm smile.
Edward looked in her direction, his pale blue eyes glazed over and unfocused. "Hmph," he said and closed his eyes.
Pam continued forward, the flowers in hand. "Mr. Blauers!" she called. This time he did not acknowledge her.
As she neared his porch, she slowed her walk. "Mr. Blauers," she said, "It's Pam Cantor. I've brought you some flowers from my garden. I thought you'd like them."
"And how," he began, his eyes still shut, "do you presume to know what I'd like?"
For a moment, she panicked. Calm down, she thought. Just calm down. He's harmless.
"Oh, I don't," she said, renewing her smile. "I just thought it would be nice to have some flowers around."
"Ms. Cantor, I'm blind. Flowers are of no benefit to me."
"Of course they are! Just smell them!" she said, moving closer to the man.
In a shockingly quick, single movement, Edward snatched his cane, stood up, and pointed the rubber end directly at her.
"Not one more step, Ms. Cantor," he said. "This is my private property, and I would appreciate it if you would leave."
"But Mr. Bauers, all I wanted -"
He shook his cane. "I know what you want, and you're not going to get it! Leave!"
Dismayed, Pam left the flowers by his mailbox and walked back to her home.
Sad news. I kind of wanted Pam to convince him not to be such a crotchety old bastard.
In other news, I'm searching high and low through my personal library (300+ books, mind you) in order to find an excerpt from one of them that might be construed as "snake bite writing." This is an assignment for my English class, and I have yet to fully understand the concept.
I walked into the class room, and she wrote the following words on the board:
- snake bites
Apollo was the Greek god of music and medicine. So there we have 2 connections. Apollo with music and curing the snake bite. Screaming is guttural and real, raw and full of emotion. This is what writing should be like.
That's what I got from our talk yesterday in class. I have no idea how Apollo is connected with screaming, and I feel like that's kind of important.
At any rate, I have to find an excerpt from some book that has writing capable of curing a snake bite. We'll see how that goes tonight.