CW11 – Dialogue (Insert Clever Name Here)

I didn’t come up with a cool name for this week’s assignment, which was to write a dialogue based on the picture below.  Suggestions, anyone?

“The fog is so pretty, isn’t it, Will?  It makes it feel like we’re somewhere in Ireland…but I guess they don’t have trees like these in Ireland, do they?  I wish I had my camera.  These tracks would make an awesome picture.”

“Didn’t you say that last spring when we came up to the cabin?”

“Hehe, I guess so.  Oh, look, there’s a blue jay!  Isn’t he pretty?  He must be a Steller’s Jay — he’s got that big black crest.  Oh, Will, how sweet!  He’s got a mate, look!  Oh, I wish I had brought my camera!”


“Gee, thanks for your enthusiasm.”

More silence.

“Will, what’s wrong?”


“Are you sure?”

He gave a sarcastic smirk.  “Yes, Jessica, I’m sure.  Nothing’s wrong, everything’s hunkey-dory.”

“Well, obviously something is the matt–“

“I said nothing’s wrong, so will you just leave it at that?”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to pry.  But, living with you for fifteen years — it’s not like I can’t tell when you’re upset about something.  If you’re going to keep stewing, let’s go back to the cabin.  It’s no fun hiking around with a bear.”

Still nothing.

“Look, Will, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but I promise I’ll help you if I can, and either way I won’t tell anybody.”

“You can’t help it.  Nobody can.”  Pause.  “Matthew called this morning.”

“Wanted to find out if we made it up here all right?”

Will shook his head.  “Jessica, what would you do if your…if your best friend told you that they…”

“That they what?”

“…had terminal cancer?”

“What?!?  Oh, Will…I’m so sorry–”

“He’s about the closest thing I have to a brother.  And when dad left for Iraq I don’t think I could have handled it without Matt…Why would God take him away from me?  Does He even care?”

“Will, don’t talk like that, you know it’s not right…”

He whirled on her, with something like fury sparking in his eyes.  “I don’t care if it’s right, I just need an answer!  Where is He?  I prayed so hard when Matt went in for more tests…I begged God not to let those tests come back positive…I begged…why didn’t He answer me, Jessica?  Why?  I can’t even think straight…tell me what to think, Jessica!”

She sat silent for a moment, watching her brother’s tears fall unashamed.  “Will, I don’t know the mind of God, and it’s better that way.  If I understood His ways fully, that would mean that God was as small and powerless as me.  You’re going to hate me for saying this, but have you wondered whether God might not be doing this out of love?”

“Don’t tell me that, Jessica…please…and don’t quote that Romans verse about–“

“’…all things work together for good for those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose?’  Ok, I won’t.  But seriously, I’ve never met anyone who was more in love with God than Matthew.  We should be rejoicing that he is going home so soon.  And I know it’s going to be hard to lose someone you love so much, but…”

You don’t know how hard…”

“Maybe not.  But no matter what, it will, or should, drive you closer to Jesus.  You’re right…I can’t help you.  But He can.  Cling to Him, Will!”

“That’s what Matt said this morning.  But… Jess, I don’t think I can handle it!”

You can’t.  Not on your own.  Rely on God’s strength, and He will carry you through.”

“Matt said that, too.”

Will didn’t say anything else for several minutes, and Jessica left the birds to do the talking.  Finally, his tears spent, Will stood up with a shaky laugh.  “What time is it, Jess?  I think the train’ll be through here soon.  Mom will kill us if we get run over.”

“Ten-ten.  I guess we should head back.”  She retrieved her sweatshirt and water bottle from the fence nearby.

“Wait!  Jess…”


“Matt’s only…he’s only got three months…do you think you could talk to Mom and–“

“Ask if you could take some time off of school to be with him?  Sure.”

“You know, it’s almost annoying sometimes how you can finish my sentences.  Wait!  Jess, one more thing…”

“Sure, Will.”

“Can you…well, could you please…pray, for me?  It’s prolly selfish, but…”

“Of course I will.  I have been already.”

He smiled back, a twisted sort of half-grin.  “Thanks.”

~c. a.


2 thoughts on “CW11 – Dialogue (Insert Clever Name Here)

  1. laurac1994 12.9.09 — 3:30 am

    As to the title, if you want suggestions…but no pressure, your decision.

    “Asking Why”
    “Tears in the Mist”
    “A Prayer on the Tracks”

    Saddening, yet very thoughtful, Carreen! Nice take on the assignment…you really made me want to keep reading. Well done!


  2. Carreen–nice job with this assignment! It was serious, interesting, and heartfelt. I think you had just the right balance of dialogue and narrative for this assignment. I think my favorite line was actually narrative (hehe) when you said “…and Jessica let the birds do the talking.” Like I’ve said before, you have some really great, creative ways of saying fairly ordinary things.

    I think your dialogue was quite natural sounding, and I really liked your structure around “the reveal” (sorry…I’ve been in “movie-speak” land for too long). I mean the part where you reveal that Will’s friend has cancer. I like how you spaced it with Will beginning, breaking, Jessica jumping in, and then the reveal. Great pacing to maximize the impact of the statement.

    If I had any suggestions, I might say that Jessica sounded a little “preachy”. She tended to make long, well-structured speeches near the end. I think if you broke her speech down and roughened it up a little bit, it might seem more genuine. It’s not a huge deal, however.

    Great job. There’s a lot of heart in this assignment and a great message!

    PS-I’m still looking forward to reading your other revamped poem…

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