Fragments 9/10: Carpentry

I began a 10-day experiment on October 30th. For 10 days, I am:

  1. Setting a timer for 15 minutes
  2. Writing what I can during that time
  3. Stopping when the time is up
  4. Posting what is written without any final editing

For additional context, check out the first post in this series by clicking here.


(Shhhick – Shhhick – Shhhick)
(Shhhick – Shhhick – Shhhick)

“Good morning!”
(Shhhick – Shhhick…Thud)

“Good morning, how are you?”
Fair as the weather, I’d say.”
“That bad, eh?”
“Well not as bad as it could be but ‘fraid not as good either. Landlord and I are having some ‘mis-agreements’.”

Four thick fingers shot higher than necessary above his head in vigorous air quotations. 

“About what?”
“Eh the usual: rent, standards o’ cleanliness.”

He’s the shopkeeper across the street. He stopped by every morning for a chat. Recently, most chats have involved some rehashed ‘mis-agreement’ with his landlord. 

“I thought you two came to some sort of understanding last week?”
“Well we-ah…heh”

A coarsely-haired tree-limb of an arm swung suddenly upward, placing a stout hand on top of a glistening scalp. It remained there while its owner 


This is another one I’d like to come back to at some point. I knew more detail about these characters than I was able to squeeze into a 15-minute write. The main character is a carpenter who works across the street from his shopkeeper friend. They have this unbalanced relationship in which the shopkeeper tends to show up unannounced and unload some issues onto the readily listening ear of the carpenter. In the long range of the story, the developing troubles of the shopkeeper would be indicative of some larger scale issues affecting the entire community. The carpenter would undergo some sort of transition from helpless bystander to fated activist.

I’ve recently been fascinated by the stories of ordinary people who are thrown into the midst of extraordinary circumstances. Martin Luther King Jr. is one such figure. Sure he probably doesn’t seem like a ‘ordinary’ person knowing what we know now. He wasn’t a politician or a legislator. He was a preacher who wanted the nation and its people to live harmoniously. Nothing special there; most people share that desire and can relate in some way. But the gospel he preached compelled him to do no less than the extraordinary things we now know him for. I wanted to write about a Martin Luther King Jr. Those are real characters. Things happen in our world and our lives that act as turning points where we have to either continue being a bystander or roll-up our sleeves and do something, whether we know entirely what that something is or not.

There were a few experiments in this free-write as well. First is the sounds. I like the use of sounds words (officially known as onomatopoeias but that’s a mouthful to say and type) and tried using a few here.

Shhhick – Shhhick = The carpenter planing a piece of wood
Dee-alee-aling = The bell above door of the carpenter’s shop

The other experiment was the dialogue. I don’t have much experience writing dialogue between two or more characters (this is the first free-write that includes it). It’s fun though. Aside from the descriptions and actions of a character, I think the things they say and the way in which they say it can express a lot of detail about who they are and their general demeanor.


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