In which I update on the future of character descriptions content at Word Nerd Scribbles
The time has come for the Character Description Project, which I began in May of this year, to end. That is to say, I ran out of character descriptions to schedule. For a refresher, over the course of a week of vacation from my day job, I wrote some thirty-odd descriptions of my friends on Facebook as if they were characters in a book. I’ve been posting them here since then to get them outside of my social media privacy settings, and we made it almost to the end of 2017 with Thursday posts for my viewers to read about my awesome friends.
My original post called for Facebook friends to leave a comment if they wanted me to write a description for them. But quite a number of them also took the time to write their own character descriptions about me. At the risk of seeming unfathomably egotistical, I saved all of these pieces and have scheduled them to be posted here each week until we run out of those (with permission and credit). I feel that each of them deserves recognition and a modicum of publication for the thought and hard work that went into them, but most of all for the courage that goes into trying your hand at such an incredibly difficult craft. Each of them is about me, but each writer approaches the task with voices and styles unique to the individual. I’m excited to showcase them here on Word Nerd Scribbles and it will be called The Guest Character Description Project.
I dig the notion of keeping Thursday as the day of the week for posting short fiction, so I’ll continue posting (if irregularly) my own vignettes and flash fiction under the Thursday Fiction category, which will house any original works, including the upcoming guest-written character descriptions. I’m toying with the idea of opening the blog up to submissions from guest writers and bloggers; more on that in the future. Until then, my readers are welcome to weigh in on whether you think that would be a good idea or not.
From the cold sprang everything, to the cold all will return. She is that ending, where the end goes on forever. Point zero. Circular. A Russian winter, where powerful bears slumber. Vast as the arctic sea, fathomless as starry space. A cool look from her will stop armies in their tracks. Men fear nothing more than the creeping chill in her blood.
Frosty breath and ice chips for eyes. A ruinous smile, the sort to freeze your heart. Hers is a slow takeover, a silent war, filled with icicle teeth and ruthlessness. No stopping her ascension—she’s already buried her enemies beneath shrouds of snow. Stand aside, if you wish to live.
What powers her is this: a strange blue flower, one whose petals she gives to those she loves. These and the flower itself generate warmth, for they are her true heart. We keep our petals hidden close, to protect ourselves from harm. If you seek this warmth yourself, you must trek across miles of tundra. But should you survive, earning her trust is a gift as unique as a snowflake, well worth the journey.
She is all the colors of a late autumn sunset.
‘Long hair and glasses?’ Pfft. That description could fit anyone. Try phoenix hair and plum lipstick, metal in her lip, ink on her skin. Confident swagger; cold, challenging gaze. War paint and armor.
In nature, bright colors signify danger. Poison. She’s just as hard to miss and her aim’s deadly and true. If you cut yourself on her sharp tongue, you have no one to blame but yourself. She did warn you.
With her, you’ll find yourself on uneven ground. Unbalanced, untethered… unresistant to her charming laughter and playful banter. Watch yourself, for if you linger, you won’t leave. Won’t mind, either, because when she counts you as a friend, you have no better place to be.
There’s a difference between her and autumn sunsets, though. Sunsets vanish and autumn dies, unremembered. But she… she is unforgettable.
His was a higher calling, the unrelenting drive to solve the crossword puzzle of reality. He was characterized by disillusionment, a clear-eyed inspection and dismissal of the aspects of life that ultimately didn’t matter. A smelting of excess dross down to a heart of the purest precious metal. He had an uncompromising prioritization of himself that didn’t exclude others. Be you, for he will be him. He demanded distinction, greatness, exceptionality. In many cases, he got it, because he not only convinced you that you could be more, achieve more, touch the very stars themselves, but that you would. Prepare yourself for a sharpening of the mind, for if he’s thought you through and discovered your essence, he will not leave you alone to rust.
His heart was made for the open road, a testament to a time when brave folks crossed vast wildernesses with no promise of refuge on the other side. I often passed him on some forgotten highway or other, the black tarmac stretching toward the horizon in either direction. Empty countryside all around. He’d be cruising along on his steel horse, throwing a wave my way with dark exhaust marking his progress against the open sky. Or he’d be parked up on the shoulder a ways from the road, campfire blazing beneath a night full of stars, companions all around. Like one of those cowboys back in the day, he was prepared to go great distances pursuing the journey of knowing himself and God’s purpose for him. Well-traveled and the wiser for the wandering.
You could say she was the glue that held things together, because she had a way of seeing which folks belonged where and setting them in their rightful places. Which was to say, connecting them to each other and keeping them that way. But glue can dissolve and hers was a more permanent effect than that. She had the deft finesse of a needle and thread, stitching along the jagged edges of torn up bits of fabric. When she was done piecing the disparate qualities of her friends together, I could see her vision in the whole—a smooth, harmonious quilt, ragged sides lined up with their uneven matches. The only distraction was the stitches, gone every which way in the quest to sew up the most wayward of tears. But this resulted in a marvelous, complex design, unique in its lack of repeating patterns. That essence, her creativity and her commitment, was what made the entire cloth beautiful.
Just as a skeleton supports the human frame, she was the scaffolding upon which her life was built. All steel and all bone. If she could believe in nothing else, she could put faith in herself, for she was made with the strength to withstand the northern sea. An island, upon which she grew a family and a community, an economy of ambition and love. Storms crashed over her, but she stood fast. Waves broke upon her shores, to no avail. She sheltered her loved ones behind her indestructible ribcage, in the place where her heart beat. Under her protection, they could come to no harm.