Writing 101 Day Six: A Character Building Experience



I am continuing in this writing 101 course and for Day 6, we are to write about a person we have met just this year and try to study his or her character. Well, this is only April so it had not been a long year yet and being such a quiet and rather shy person who also works all evenings, I don’t get out very much and so do not have a lot of opportunities for meeting new people. However, I do go on long walks, visit a nearby gym, and occasionally browse through the mall.

An Encounter at the Book Store

On one evening after work, I did go wander through the mall and made it a point to stop in a favorite store: the Barnes and Noble book store. I was in the mood to purchase a new book about writing. As I strolled down the main aisle, I became focused on a certain book display which included a variety of books related to the craft of writing short stories, writing poetry, character writing, and sketching. As I continued to look, I also found a book for writing music. This piqued my interest as I have attempted to write my own musical pieces in the past. I want to stress here that I am not an avid music writer but I have dabbled in it. Nevertheless, this book interested me as I opened it and found pages of blank musical staffs. I started to dream of writing music again.

“You won’t be sorry if you purchase that book,” a young and confident female voice called out. StartIed out of my daydream, I turned looking towards the voice and found a young blue eyed lady with long blonde hair approaching me. She walked in a determined and confident stride as she set her eyes framed by square-shaped glasses on me. Being that I tend to be a quiet and introverted person, I immediately wished I had such confidence as she apparently had. When she reached me, she continued in a friendly voice sounding very sure of herself, “What I mean is, that this book is great for writing your own songs because you don’t have to create the musical staffs and then write your notes. I don’t know about you, but I used to draw my own staffs using notebook paper and then write my music.”

Drawn in by her sense of optimism, brevity, and her warm smile, I couldn’t help but like this friendly young lady as finally, I found my voice, “Ah, well, yes, I have done that too. What I sometimes do is buy narrow ruled notebooks to use those lines to make the staffs. And I have used loose leaf music sheets. This is the first time I found an entire book of blank music staffs.”

“Exactly,” she replied cheerfully and, I knew, with hope of make a sale. She repeated, “You won’t be sorry if you buy it.”

In my mind, I imagined this young lady to be a college student attending the local university studying music. With her square-shaped spectacles and working in this bookstore, she certainly looked the picture of a serious and scholarly person. Therefore possibly being a student she might not even be from Minnesota but perhaps from a nearby state such as Iowa, Illinois, or Wisconsin. And quite possibly she came from a musical family and is now studying and honing her own musically inclined talent. She may possibly be in a choir group and play a band or orchestra instrument. I never had the chance to find out but continued to be amazed by her continuing presentation of self-assurance as if she could not be easily shaken.

I really wish I could be more like that. Too often I can be easily toppled or deflated by others’ unkindness. I can shrug off some unkind words and actions but sometimes it is too much. And once this has happened too many times, I seem to go into hiding for a while until I somehow determine to be brave enough to come out again. With God’s gentle help, I do emerge again in an attempt to rebuild myself in the confidence which I had just lost.

Now, right at that moment, I was not ready to purchase the book so I kindly replied to her, “I don’t know yet if I will buy it. Let me think on it while I look around the store.”

“Alright,” she answered and then strolled away to attend other customers.

With the book in hand, I wandered down various aisles thinking about my potential purchase. I gazed at other books that interested me and checked out some of the DVDs that were on sale. Finally making up my mind I went to check out and guess who I found at the register?

“So, you decided to buy it. You won’t be sorry,” the now familiar friendly and confident young lady told me for the third time. She carefully placed my book and receipt in a plastic bag and handed it to me.

And she was right that I never was sorry for buying the book of blank musical staffs. To me it provided another outlet for my creativity. And as I exited I couldn’t help but reflect on this recent but brief encounter at the bookstore. Although I never learned the young lady’s name, I was affected by her positive attitude as well as her sense of confidence and I have kept a picture of her in my memory.

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