Using any one of Faulkner’s 15-character voices as a guide, create a paragraph in the voice of a character totally different to yourself. Think about people you might have overheard on the train or bus, or someone you might have seen randomly on a street corner. Invent their life, their consciousness in a paragraph.
My head vibrates against the train window as the mechanical beast shifts in its tracks. The window is cool against my cheek. I shut my eyes and listen to the bustling commotion that takes place in the stomach of the train.
School children are laughing, happy that their school day has come to an end. People are taking phone calls. Two in English, two in Mandarin and one in Hindi. In the distance, I can hear a small child asking her mother how far away their stop is. “How many stops now mummy? Oh, is this ours? How do you say that, Syd-en-ham?”
I love people watching, especially on trains. Each person is like a novel. Each has their own unique story and each person is at a different chapter in their life. I take joy in guessing people’s stories and observing them in the present moment.
As I turn my attention back to the train carriage, I observe a young Asian girl face-timing her family. She seems happy to see them, but also sad. Though I cannot understand her language, I can read her expressions, and I wonder to myself what her story is.
I then spot a lady, I would say in her early 30’s, with a notepad and paper creating the most amazing sketch. She too is observing those around her. She sketches the exhausted businessmen that sit opposite her. One has his arms folded and head down, perhaps he is thinking more than sleeping. The other has his head back and nose in the air, like a pompous gentleman (which I’m sure he is).
The train pulls up to my stop and I take one last look at the array of stories that are seated in front of me. I wander off home, intrigued by what stories I’ll read tomorrow.