Description Exercise. Same setting, different viewpoint.
1. Describe a party from the point of view of a soldier on leave from a war zone. Don’t mention the war or the fact he is a soldier.
She had only recently returned to the tedium of suburban life, and the invitations to social events were already becoming a burden. These housewives with their shiny cars and sticky children, their petty feuds and narrow worldview chipping away at her forced calm. “Obligation, it is the price of acceptance”, she muttered to herself in the corner, desperately clutching a Vodka and Orange that is more vodka than orange.
A loud bang sends her pulse racing, senses suddenly on alert. But the call of ‘Taxi’ comes in from the patio, along with forced socially acceptable laughter. It’s an old joke, from a culture she no longer understands, loud sudden noises should evoke fear, not tired chuckles. She wants to shake these people, rub their faces in fleeting nature of their existence, but that isn’t what a good guest does.
Around her the social tango spins on, its a tune she can remember but no longer understands, the rhythm jars, each note seems false. She wants to scream at them, open their eyes to the real world around them and pull them out of the shared domestic fantasy they are lost in. Instead she takes another gulp of the bitter juice, finding to her surprise that the glass has emptied itself again.
Between her and the kitchen, lies the gauntlet of the young single community men. Young, smug little shits with their tennis shoes and know-it-all attitudes. Worse still are the divorcees mingled amongst them, privileged suburbanites with BMW’s and wandering hands. They are here for her, invited so that they can assess the single woman who has foolishly entered their hunting grounds. She gathers the tattered remains of her courage and moves forward, forcing a smile, knowing that they won’t notice that it doesn’t reaches her eyes. Beyond them lies the drinks cabinet and the blessed vodka that makes these gatherings bearable
2. Describe the same party from the point of view of a child. Don’t mention the child.
This was supposed to be a party, but it didn’t feel like a party. Lots of people standing around talking about things that make no sense, big words and long pauses while others nod agreement. Sometimes people would move from one group to another, sometimes a whole group would collapse and the people in it would reform in another place. It was like watching bubbles in a sink, the groups moving, bursting, reforming.
There was music too. Old, slow stuff that he had heard before but didn’t recognise. It was playing quietly and no one was dancing, so he wasn’t sure why it was on. Sometimes someone would turn the music up for a song but someone else would turn it right back down again because it made it harder to argue about ‘politics’, and ‘batting averages’.
There was cake earlier, full of cream and strawberries. It was left in the middle of the big table so that you could come back and have as many pieces as you want. That had been the best bit of the whole thing. Far better than having to wade through strangers smelling of smoke and dead flowers.
In the back of the biggest room, in a corner between the door and the indoor plant, there was a sad looking lady. She didn’t join the groups, she just smiled at people and occasionally went into the kitchen and back. One time she left her seat and he switched his empty glass with her full one, but it tasted like the juice had gone off, so he poured it out on the plant.