Farmers’ Market

The only reason I’m even going to bother going to school tomorrow is to go to the local farmers’ market in the mall parking lot after school. I have a fairly aggressive cold right now, and I don’t really want to wake up at six tomorrow and have to suffer through classes all day; it’s not like we’re doing anything important. I’ve got speeches to watch in Public Speaking, normal, easy-to-do-on-one’s-own Spanish stuff, probably not much in English, maybe some algebra review in math. Then, after lunch, I just have band and AP Environmental Science–and we’re just going on a bird-watching hike in the canyon adjacent to the school, and it’s really not at all pertinent to what we’re presently learning…

So I don’t really have any reason to go to school except so that I’ll be in the area and thus able to walk to the lovely farmers’ market. They have lots of free samples there. You know I couldn’t miss out on that.

Well, anyway, despite having to go to school tomorrow, I will resolutely stay up late enough to finish writing my Story-A-Day, because I am just that determined… and resolute.

Hm. I was just looking at an art meme (an art meme is different than an Internet meme; Internet memes are basically just inside jokes on the Internet, like Rebecca Black; art memes are more like questionnaires that artists fill out using words and images) about character development. Basically, you put a picture of the first drawing you ever made of a character, and then you put a very recent drawing of the same character and see how much they changed.

The juxtaposition makes it really interesting. I mean, there are some characters that you’ve been carrying around for years. Sometimes, they started out as imaginary friends, who you went on adventures with when you played by yourself, and then they developed into an actual character who you liked to draw or write about, and now they’re someone completely new. I mean, over the years, you start tweaking their personalities and appearances, and then you find that your character has grown up so much with you. It’s really cool.

I wish I could draw… That would make thing so much more interesting. I mean, it would be so much easier to show the development of a character visually than through words. Some thoughts are so easy to convey through images… Ah, if only.

Honestly, though, I don’t really spend a lot of time cultivating any single character. I mean, there are a few that I just use as defaults–like when I come up with an idea that I’d like to entertain, I need some characters to sort of “act it out” for me in my head. If I like it, I come up with real characters for it. If I like it a lot, I let my defaults continue to play the roles, because my defaults are really cool and well-developed (I’ve had them for a while, why wouldn’t they be?), but if I actually use them, I need to come up with new defaults. It’s like having an ace in your sleeve–sure, you have it, but once you use it, it’s gone.

And, alright, they’re figments, nothing but ideas. They’ll never be gone, per se. It’s just that it would be pretty lame to use the same character for a lot of different things. Sure, you have lots of great ideas, but characters should be the easiest things to come up with. You know lots of characters: everyone you know is a potential character. Everyone you see while waiting in line at Starbucks or sitting on the bus… that’s a character waiting to happen. A hero could very easily be made out of the guy carrying six cups of coffee to his boss or friends or whatever: he’s probably a pushover, and maybe an intern, and he’s totally misguided and doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life. There you go. The theme: seeking out the purpose of life. Super.

Okay, that’s enough. I really should write something and then go to bed; I’m getting awfully sniffley again.

Back straight, chest out, shoulders back, chin up, eyes forward. Heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, hell-to, all-you, who-make, me-walk, like-this… Heel-toe…

I paraded across the stage in my uncomfortably tight dress, dragging the train over the ground and probably ruining it. I almost forgot to smile for how much I was focusing on walking properly.

“Thank you very much,” I said to the jovial-looking elderly gentleman who was handing me a stiff piece of paper and smiling at me. He reached to shake my right hand, but I was holding my inconvenient little clutch in that hand and the certificate in the other. I shifted the clutch to my left and shook his hand awkwardly. Sparse laughter came from the audience. I made almost a mad dash to my seat in the grand banquet hall of the Plaza in New York, New York, a city I’d always dreamed of coming to.

I was starting to hate it already. Maybe it wasn’t the city that was eating at me, though. More likely, it was the event for which I’d been invited to the city: an awards banquet for us young artists who had entered an apparently prestigious art contest and had been better than the rest.

I didn’t even enter the contest. My stupid ceramics teacher did. She sent in my nesting-doll teacup and teapot set and they just ate it up, I guess. So, here I was: stuck at a banquet with a bunch of pretentious artist-types who all seemed to completely snub me when they saw that I was nothing more than a tenth-grade ceramics kid who had to make some tea pots for a final project.

There was only one person who interested me at all at the banquet: a girl who looked maybe a little older than me with pixie-cut brown hair except for two dyed-purple locks on either side of her face that reached her chin. She had seamed bifocal glasses with navy blue rims and dark, dark brown eyes. Her gaze was critical. Her posture was immaculate.

Her dress was stunning. The floor-sweeping emerald number glittered subtly with unobtrusive silvery discs in a gradient that covered the corseted bodice. The skirt was feathery and looked weightless, and it hovered gently off the tile whenever a humid July breeze blew in from the open windows.

Finally, after the awards had all been presented and we were allowed to eat dessert–for which I was all too grateful, after not having anything for dinner because all they had was fillet mignon and grilled Mahi-Mahi, neither of which I could stomach–I walked over to the girl’s table (against the banquet rules, but what did I care?) and tried to strike up a conversation with her.

“What did you win an award for?” I asked, smiling as charmingly as I could. “I didn’t hear.”

“Design…” she said quietly. Not timidly, just quietly. “I design clothing.”

“Really? That is so cool! What did you design?”

“This dress,” she said, running a milky-white hand down the skirt.

I stared, awestruck. “Seriously? That’s amazing. Did you make it, too?”

“Yeah,” she answered. “It was… fun.”

“Oh.”

I had little else to say to her. I thought of maybe bringing up what I had submitted–my nesting-doll teacups and teapot–but I was clearly outshone. I didn’t mention it. She didn’t either.

When I got back to the hotel, I was hopeful and exhausted. Maybe someday, I’ll design a dress…

Barring the fact that I couldn’t draw or sew, I think it’s possible.

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