As one of my followers correctly pointed out, I totally missed the intent of last weeks exercise:
Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for.
I fell into a personal trap of getting caught up in why the person I don’t care for made that list. My writing mindset is focused on nonfiction, and I stumbled too deeply into the poison swamp of hatred. As they pointed out, it’s FICTIONAL!
Get over the hate and get a grip.
So, let me continue as I planned, just letting the words flow, no revisions, spell check only.
She’s like most grandmothers of that time – the undisputed leader of the family. She’s the personification of the old saying “If Momma ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy.” Sure, her husband acts the role of the strong, silent patriarch, yet looking at him you know that when the time comes he’ll take charge. In the meantime, it’s usually “ok, honey.” For the other 95% of the time, it’s her world, we’re the subjects, and she’s knee-deep in all our lives. Unquestioned love for us, strongly balanced with a no-nonsense attitude for foolishness. Child or adult, you’re going to get her opinion about what you’re saying, what you’re doing, even what you’re thinking. Oh yea, the same for the “not” word you can put in front of the action.
She has the knack for reading faces. Mom tells us as kids it didn’t matter how they tried to hide it, she’d come home from work and not only tell them she knows they had an argument but she’ll damn near tell them exactly what it was about and what each one said to the other. I used to think it was just one of those old family legends until the Thanksgiving day she confronted my brother and me about an argument we had at the grocery store during a last-minute run for a few things for dinner. I’m basically “How the hell did she know about that?” when she tells us “looks like y’all been fighting again.” We had laughed and joked our way out of it on the drive back home, so it wasn’t like we came back angry. At least I was pretty sure I wasn’t still upset, so it couldn’t have been my face that betrayed us.
She’s no exception to the jokes told about the shortest person always trying act the baddest. Barely over 5 feet, she has the long, straight silver-streaked black hair handed down from the Native-American blood of the family from back in Mississippi. Thick bodied, but not what you’d call overweight, and when she walks it’s like she’s carrying something on her back, slightly bent forward, with a pronounced lean to each side as she steps. It’s a walk that, if you don’t see her face, makes her look older than her 66 years. She’s blessed with smooth, copper skin with few wrinkles, and could easily pass for, oh I guess, mid fifties. She has a thick southern accent, and sometimes I tease her about sounding like an extra from The Color Purple. I often do it when she gets into her lecturing mode, unsolicited opinion time. It’s always signaled with the opening words “You need to…” It gets on my nerve when she says that to me, and that’s my way of taking the misery out of it for me and whomever else is the target.
But when it comes to how she dresses, that’s another story. Grandma is serious about clothes, and she puts her money and time into it. Even if something isn’t that expensive she makes it look like it is. One of those people everybody knows who can make the ugliest outfit look good. She’s no fashion snob – she’ll shop Wal-Mart’s clearance rack, but at least twice a month at a minimum though, she’ll make the trip to the upscale places.
All it takes is one phone call to one of the ladies in the family announcing her next shopping trip, and then she’s heading out in the SUV packed with any random assortment of daughters, nieces, sister-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, granddaughters, all eager for a touch of her fashion magic. Those who can’t go demand to be the one to receive the first call for the next one. She is their Goddess of Fashion – she wears her credentials everyday – and as they shop they look to her. A slight frown if they even so much as look at a rack or display is all they need, an interaction they all love.
So needless to say that when she passes on a chance to give her thoughts on my brother’s decision to sell his house and move into a condo we think that maybe she’s just distracted. Then my wife tells me that the ladies are talking about how long it’s been since the last shopping trip together. Apparently she told them about her last two journeys after the trip. No clarion call. Now, everyone’s antenna is up, trying to figure out what this sudden deviation in behavior is all about.
So there, free-flowing and only checked for spelling.