Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail. Here are three scenes to get you thinking — feel welcome to choose one or more of these scenes and riff off of it, or create your own: This is the one I chose to use. I do not write fiction very much, but felt that I would like to participate in this particular challenge.
1. A woman walks into a restaurant. Imagine this scene and capture every detail you can in a few paragraphs. Describe the woman: is she old, young, or in-between? What type of restaurant is it: fancy, casual, or a diner? What is she doing? Pack as much detail as you can into a few paragraphs that will help us imagine this woman clearly.
A young woman with blond hair, blowing in her face as she ran, tears streaming down her face and wearing only an old pair of blue jeans and cotton top, stopped a moment to catch her breath. The bitter wind and pouring rain had soaked her thoroughly. After a short break she began running again and then paused just briefly to see where she was. She hadn’t even been aware of the direction that she had taken, as the horrible thoughts that passed through her mind caused her to just panic with no forethought. As she paused, there was a brief moment when she knew she must take hold and get a handle on the growing fear within her. If she could get to a phone somehow to call the police perhaps they would be able to help her. Across the busy street there was an old restaurant that looked as though it had seen better days, but perhaps they would let her use their phone. She hurried and darted between the busy ongoing traffic, barely able to make it to the other side without being hit by one of the cars. Then when she reached the door of the restaurant, frantically looking around for the owner or someone, she saw the only person in the place, who incidentally looked very suspiciously at her as she entered. Her face by this time was smeared with mascara mingled in with her tears and the rain dripping off her face. She must have been a sight, but she didn’t care.
As she approached the woman, she began uncontrollably crying and asking if she could use the telephone. Not quite sure what to make of this woman, the old lady nevertheless asked what was wrong. Between sobs she blurted out in almost incoherent words, that she needed to call the police to come and help her. But that’s all she could get out except to please use the phone. Somewhat still unsettled but seeing clearly that this unruly person obviously was in distress, she showed her to where the phone was located, and listened to hear what the problem was. It became only too clear what had happened when the woman blurted out the trauma that had just occurred and had put her in this pitiful situation. She had been walking her child in the stroller, and because her baby was sleeping soundly, thought she would just pop in and out of the store in just a moment to pick up a jug of milk. However, when she came out of the store her baby and stroller had disappeared. Choking on her tears and words she gave the details to the police, and they promised that they would quickly dispatch help. Now was the hard part, waiting, waiting, waiting as the minutes seemed like hours. She wondered if she would ever see her firstborn son again!
The police arrived as soon as they could after receiving the report of the missing child, and as they entered the restaurant looked at this woman who by now was hysterical, and could not be consoled. They got as many details as they could out of her and tried to calm her down. One of the men went to the car giving the information explained to him, in between the woman’s cries and recriminations of having allowed this to happen. Within a few minutes the policeman came in from the pelting rain, and had a bigger than life smile on his face. Apparently, a very soft-spoken, troubled and contrite woman had made a call to the police station notifying them that she had the missing baby. Because this heartbroken woman had recently lost her own beloved child, and happened by as she saw this beautiful baby apparently belonging she told herself, to no one, she decided that she would take loving care of it and simply decided to take him home. However, after having the initial momentary lapse in reality and judgment, she realized that she must turn herself in. The mother was ecstatic with joy, and wiping the tears and stains from her face, went to retrieve her baby. He would be safe in her arms once again.