Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

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Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Oooh I wonder what he does?

The community meeting I attended last night went well and I'm pleased to say that my journey on foot to my daughter's school should be a lot safer come September when all the road changes have been implemented.

While I was at the meeting I took the opportunity to a do a few character studies. I always find that these types of public gatherings provide an array of different interesting people - particularly when you have two or more with opposing views! I like to sit back and watch the show unfold. While I was watching (and taking part) in the discussions last night I noticed that there seems to be several key types of personalities that you tend to find at such meetings. And without, hopefully, sounding like David Attenborough, I'm going to present my findings here. NB I would like to add that the characters presented here are in no way a representation of any one who was at the meeting last night. They are merely an almalgamation of my own observations of certain character traits displayed by several people. Any similarity or likeness that you think you recognise as yourself is purely coincidental (or words to that effect!)

1. The Church Mouse: The church mouse is usually, but not always, a tiny, frail creature who sits at the back, listening intently. They look very frightened and I often wonder why they are there as they look as though they'd rather not be and would expire if you spoke to them and aked them their opinion.

2.The Sniper: These are extremely dangerous animals and you enter their sights at your peril. They also tend to sit at the back or loiter, unseen, in a doorway, listening to the discussion, waiting for the wind to blow in the right direction and, without warning, take aim, FIRE! The council members are lying on the floor in tatters and the key opposition spokesperson has gone missing and no one saw a thing.

3.The Smiling Face of Doom: Now, you would think that you would be safe sitting next to this smartly dressed, pleasantly smiling person. But do not be fooled by their 'happy' exterior, oh no. Inside that smile lurks the prophet of doom! They will suddenly start shaking their heads and tutting loudly. They will put a negative spin on everything anyone says at the meeting. 'It will never get done in time.' ' The tarmac will be too sticky. The road won't be wide enough. The path won't be wide enough.' 'I won't be able to reverse my caravan out of my driveway and you'll be taking my leisure away from me - the only pleasure I have left.' (Someone actually said this last night and that's all they were concerned about - never mind child safety - the caravan has to come first!) Anyway - stay away from these characters no matter how bright their beaming face, you must resist at all costs!

4. The Voice Of Reason: These are the character types who speak the truth. They know they speak the truth and everyone else knows they speak the truth yet they are ostracised by everyone. These are the ancient wise ones who have seen and done it all before. They know what's what and don't take kindly to young whipper snappers voicing their opinions as they have not yet walked the Earth long enough to know of what they speak. They treat the opposition with contempt and like naughty school children who don't know any better. You can sit by these if you want to but you may find no one else will speak to you if you do.

5. Mr Loud Mouth: YOU WILL LISTEN TO HIM AND YOU WILL LISTEN GOOD BECAUSE HE WILL SHOUT TO GET HIS POINT ACROSS AS HIS POINT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. HE IS RIGHT AND THE REST OF YOU ARE WRONG. AND HE IS GOING TO EDUCATE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE SO STUPID AND HE IS THE CLEVEREST PERSON IN THE ROOM. HE DOESN'T CARE THAT HE IS REINVENTING THE WHEEL BECAUSE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GROUP HAVE ALREADY VOICED THE SAME OPINION AS HIM AND HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THE PROJECT FOR MONTHS BEFORE HE JOINED IN. HE WILL TAKE OVER THE MEETING AND TRY TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE BELIEVE HE'S THE ONE WITH THE BRIGHT IDEAS. LISTEN TO ME EVERYONE BECAUSE I'VE GOT THE BIGGEST MOUTH. Don't sit next to him unless you want your ear drums ruptured.

6. The Ditherer: You just don't know where you are with this person - and I don't think they do either. They mmmm and they ahhhh. They stand up they sit down. It's black then it's white then it's grey. They ask the speaker to go over the whole presentation again because they were in such a fluster the first time round they didn't listen properly. They don't listen when other people speak and then they ask the same questions over and over again. They are probably the most irritating character and the most difficult one to sit next to as they'll have you in a spin.

And to think that the members at the meeting thought I was making notes on the presentation! It's amazing the situations and places you can get characters and stories from isn't it. Try it. Go to a community meeting and open your eyes to the writing opportunities that are in abundance there. I promise you you will not be bored. Getting involved with community projects and issues not only gives you something to do of an evening and give you a sense of pride and belonging to your community - making lives better for everyone, it also gives you something to write about.

Happy writing and attending meetings,

Julie xx

4 comments:

Olivia Ryan said...

Hah! Very good, Julie - yes, I've observed people like these, too, in all sorts of situations. Trouble is, it had me thinking: I wonder which one other people see ME as!! Oh dear. My family think I'm a ditherer; but I've also been told I smile a lot (even when I don't realise I'm doing it, and for no reason - it must be something odd about my face) - so I hope I'm not the Smiling Face of Doom. But I might be! Or I might not! And now I'm dithering ....

Julie P said...

Tee hee. I know! After I'd read it I thought, What if someone else is stiiting her in this meeting doing the same as me?!! Which one would I be?! I'm definitaley not the Loud Mouth but I could be the ditherer but I wasn't in this meeting as my objectives were clear. I'm probably a hybrid or, hang on a minute, I'm in a different category altogether, one that I forget about The Observer! But I still think I'm part Voice Of Reason and part Observer as I don't know it all and I don't think I'm right all of the time just on the issues we were debating at the meeting! And I was sitting next to a Mr Loud Mouth and a Church Mouse who was uncharacteristically sitting in the front row! No, now you see I'm dithering too! We all have a bit of everything in us I think.

Julie xx

klahanie said...

Hi Julie,
Excellent! I have certainly met all of those type of characters. Invariably, 'Mr. Loud Mouth', or for that matter, 'Mrs. Loud Mouth' or 'Ms. Loud Mouth' sits next to me. At this point, I become the one in the crouch position, trying to assure the folks around me, that I do not know the person sitting beside me.
Then of course, we now have a new form of modern rudeness; the person who just has to answer their mobile phone and bore us with their cringe-worthy conversation.
Happy writing to you, Julie.
Kind wishes, Gary:-)

Julie P said...

Hi, Gary! Yes all those characters are out there somewhere. We didn't have any mobile phones going off, though, thank goodness! I'm with you on that one - I think it's incredibly rude.

Well, I've done all I can do now. I've sent my report in and drawings on how I think the road should work, so we have to wait for the formal consultation and presentation of plans now. It's been, and continues to be, such a hard slog, but if the end result is safer passage for for the kids to school then I'll be happy! Nothing to do with writing but it should make people's lives better.

Best wishes

Julie xx