Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Short, Descriptive Literary Sketch

I'm taking a feature writing course this semester & our latest assignment was to write a vignette: a short, descriptive literary sketch. We had to sit somewhere for about two hours and take notice of everything: smells, sounds, sights--all those little details. Well I got to writing and I was really into it, so I decided to post it for today's blog. After I wrote it, I couldn't help but take notice of all the little things that no one pays attention to.

The air is hot and smoky. Over-cooked, dried-out pasta fills the room with a lingering stench that stings the nostrils and evokes nausea. Two boys sit across from each other with four rows of Pokemon cards between them. On the wooden table sits a laptop computer with an anime picture serving as a background.
On the other side of the room, a pale-skinned young girl, her head covered in a black cloth, eats lunch with a gray-haired woman. They discuss drinks and how people don’t like to find things floating in them.
“If it belongs there I don’t mind,” the young girl says in monotone at the top of her voice. “If it doesn’t belong there, I mind.”
A dark-haired boy sits silently, tapping a plastic blue bottle cap on the table in front of him. Above him and the pale girl, flags of yellow, blue, green, red, black and white barely sway.
Alone, a woman talks on her Nokia cell phone as she occasionally runs her slightly-wrinkled hand through her hair of graying roots. Her soup steaming, she opens a small, white package of granola. Holding her phone between her ear and her shoulder, she struggles to pour the contents of the crackling wrapper into her white, non-fat yogurt. Most of the tiny brown clusters fall onto the bluish table top before bouncing onto the dark, multi-colored carpet.
Heard above the laughter and yelling, techno music pounds out of a pair of computer speakers. Four obnoxious boys talk about a car CD player—red, blue and black wires hang from the back of the black and silver hunk of metal that one of the teens is holding.
“This is going in my Dodge Charger.”
Two girls dressed in scrubs, their highlighted hair in pony tails, pass out slips of paper, asking anyone they see if they’d be interested in a free teeth cleaning. Everyone has the same answer: “Sorry, I don’t have the time.”
Walking toward the area of techno, Pokemon and obnoxious boys, a thin girl in a yellow and white striped t-shirt tells a group of people the obvious: “You’re really loud.”
A boy from this same loud bunch tells another to stop touching his “alone time hand.” This leads to a discussion of the super glue scene from the movie American Pie.
Over the commotion, if you listen intently, you can hear a plastic scooper crunch into ice chunks in a cooler. Meat slaps the griddle before it begins to sizzle. A chopper tap-tap-taps a counter. You can hear the drawer of the cash register slam open, right after the “ding!” A refrigerator door slams shut, its rubber seals thudding together. Glass bowls clank together and fountain soda gushes into throwaway cups.
One girl, in purple tights and a gray Pea coat, hears nothing. She’s been sleeping for the past two hours. Her brown curly hair hangs over her arms, upon which her head rests. She’s heard and seen nothing that has gone on in her college’s cafeteria at lunch time.

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