-Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963
And so begins a pivotal chapter in The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963. Everything in the chapter hinges on that one sound.
Sound Part 2:
In this exercise you will choose a sound to start a scene similar to the passage above. You can approach this many ways. Some ideas:
- Use the starter above and write what comes next. Imagine what sound it was and go from there.
- Choose a sound from your lists last week and make it the focal point of your scene.
- Choose a new sound - try listing sounds you love and sounds you hate. Then pick one and write the scene.
Sounds I dislike:
nails on a chalkboard
squealing brakes of the subway
generators (too loud!)
the fly that keeps buzzing around my head. Seriously? It's September - go away already
whining - this includes humans
Below is the scene I created by beginning with one sound from the list.
The hot air blows back at my face as the train whooshes past. Squealing brakes echo through the tunnel until the train comes to a complete stop.
The people inside tilt slightly forward and back. Doors open and a few strangers step out and past.
I am the only one who gets on here.
Scrolling through my music I head toward the rear of the car and settle into a seat all alone. I flip my hoodie up and close down the rest of the world.
Someone hits my foot.
I ignore it. People make mistakes and rarely apologize.
The tap on my head is different, though, a smart whack. There is an old man before me, gesturing to me with his long white cane. He taps my knee again and points to the seat next to me.
"You want this one? You want to sit here?"
He nods his head and points again. The car is nearly empty. There are several other seats, and many of them near me. I get up to move. I'm not sitting near a crazy. He presses down on my shoulder holding me in place then squeezes himself into the seat near the window. His cane smacking my knee seems to be more on purpose than an accident.
He stinks like he hasn't showered in weeks. I go to move again and he crosses the cane across my lap. I'm about to press the panic button on my phone.
"Oh-one-oh-two," he whispers. His breath rattles with the effort.
I turn my head to look at him, but he whacks my shin with his cane instead. "Oh-one-oh-two. Get off . Next stop. Follow... instructions."
The brakes squeal then hiss again and all too happily I launch out of my seat toward the sliding door. I wasn't going to get off, but it seems a better option than staying.
On the platform I don't look back, but forward has me more scared. There's an old woman with a chalkboard sign. 0102 Citizens Missing Since Noon. When she sees me she nods and erases the two. She puts a three in its place.