Friday, February 20, 2015

#FlashFiction Friday

Today's exercise (sorry I was so late posting it).

Writing exercise: Write a “conversation” in which no words are said.
Explanation: This exercise is meant to challenge you to work with gesture, body language (or, as a baseball announcer I heard once misspeak it, body English), all the things we convey to each other without words. We often learn more about characters in stories from the things characters do with their hands than from what they say. It might be best to have some stranger observe this conversation, rather than showing us the thoughts of one of the people involved in the conversation, because the temptation to tell us what the conversation is about is so great from inside the conversation. “I was doing the opposite of Freud,” Desmond Morris says, of his famous book The Naked Ape that first studied the ways humans speak with their bodies. “He listened to people and didn’t watch; I watched people and didn’t listen.” Because of Morris, according to Cassandra Jardine, “when politicians scratch their noses they are now assumed to be lying—and the sight of the Queen [Elizabeth] crossing her legs at the ankles is known to be a signal that her status is too high for her to need to show sexual interest by crossing them further up.” Autistic children cannot understand human conversation even when they understand individual words because they cannot read facial expressions, which is clear evidence of how important other forms of language are.

The door slammed. Paul stalked into the room, jaw tight and chest heaving. He swiped at his tie, tearing it over his head and dropping it on the floor before undoing the top three buttons and walking over to the window. 
Megan slipped silently into the
 room. Paul’s shoulder pulled back and his arms crossed over his chest. Her manicured fingers smoothed over the raw silk top and white pencil skirt as she opened her mouth to speak. 
He shot her the look over his shoulder: mouth in a thin line, sharp cheekbones, and ice cold gaze. Her full lips closed and eyes filled with tears that never made it the heavy black mascara. Paul turned back to the window staring out past the bright lights to the black endless sky. 
She moved toward him slipping off her shoes as she went. With a sigh, her hand brushed against his arm. He stilled at her touch and she held her breath. When he didn’t remove her hand, it climbed to his shoulder and she moved closer until her chin nearly rested against him. 
Still he stared out the window, jaw tight and lips thin. Megan stared into the corded muscle of his neck, her soft breath whistling against this collar. Silence roared through the room creating a chasm between them. A tear rolled down her cheek and she drew in a shaky breath. 
Paul’s hand covered hers.

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