Friday, March 7, 2014

Game: Character Sketch

Been a while since we played a game.

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You will need:

  • one song from your favorite band in an earlier stage of life
  • one random art prompt (generator)*
  • one random name (generator)*

*fiddle with the settings however you want. You get three tries to get something to work with, and then you have to pick with one from the options generated.

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I got:

  • song: "Take Me Under" - Three Days Grace
  • art prompt: the moonlight
  • name: first try--Myrrine, second try--Pelagius, third try--Fulgencio.

I'm going with Fulgencio.

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What are you going to do with these elements?

Here is the game:

You are going to write an acrostic, meaning you write the letters of your name vertically down the paper and use those as the starts of each line. Note that you don't have to confine yourself to poems: if you start writing a stream-of-consciousness thing, with separate paragraphs for each letter, go for it.

What is this acrostic's content? You are going to do a character sketch, discovering all you can about the person who bears the name you chose. Include your art prompt as a motif, and use your song to set the mood. Aside from that, no rules. This is a liberal game.

My efforts follow.

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Fulgencio the Madman

Falling snow, like a father's reassuring hand on the nightmare-ridden pine-heads. The forest is silent as I pace, axe in hand, my heavy boots crunching over crusts of ice.

Under full sun, this place is my haven, my sanctuary: the bowers, the birdsong. Not now. Not now, as the moonlight slides silver as tears down the trunks, to pool in darkness as I step my way through the paths grown cold and still.

Listen! Who follows me? A villager grown curious? A hare grown monstrous large? A bear?

Guess again!

Evil spirits make no sound as they glide. Not like me, not with my heavy footsteps. The moonlight it limns the trees, turns bright the snow, but I--no, it cannot make me other than I am, it cannot make me ghostly and unreal, cannot still the beating of my mad, mad heart.

No one comes near me. Fulgencio, the strange foreigner with the tangled beard and the eyes black as a bear's. I do not speak this language well, and I know they think I am a savage. Let them! They are not wrong, they err only in seeing a difference between me and them. Let them believe what they will.

Can you hear that? That whispering? I stop in a clearing, and look up at the sky, at the stars shining clear in the deep perfect blue. I begin a prayer, and then stop. To whom would I pray? No one can save me now.

I do not, in truth, want to be saved. Why did I flee my land? To escape the gaolers? No--gladly I'd have gone to prison! I left only because here, here in the cold, is where I will finally meet them...they, the spirits...they, who can perhaps give me the answers to my questions: why can I not sleep? Why do the village dogs all bark at me? Why do I feel drawn here, night after night, as the moon grows large, as she sheds her silver tears over the silver trees and over the snow? They whisper to me, telling me what I must do, what I must see, before I can know...

One axe-blow to the neck will suffice.

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...all these games seem to end in bloodshed. I would apologize but this is all fair game.

Having written this, I see I did not follow my own prompt. What do I know about Fulgencio? That he's crazy, that he hears voices in his head...he is still an abstraction to me, a Steppenwolf or a Joseph K, an archetypal, existential, philosophical idea. Likewise, what are the evil spirits? I don't know.

The point of these games isn't so much as to produce something specific (a poem, a character sketch) as to combine things in interesting ways to break the mold, to break my/your mind out of a rut.

So. Your turn: go for it! Share your results or not, as you prefer. And have a fantastic weekend.

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