Monday, November 16, 2009

Under an Oak Tree on a Fall Morning



"I didn't mean to bother you."

"You're not bothering me."

"It's not like I'm usually in the habit of approaching strange women hanging out under oak trees."

"I'm not usually in the habit of hanging out under oak trees."

"Not that I mean 'strange' in a bad way."


"Just in the sense that I don't know you."

"I understand. Strange, as in strange men."

"Yeah. Exactly."

"Thought so."

"It's really a beautiful day, isn't it? With the leaves...."

"You didn't come over here to tell me it's a beautiful day, did you?"



"I came over here because...."


"Well, actually...."

"I think you came over here because you somehow knew I would be here."


"Don't look so surprised."


"I'm right, aren't I?"

"I was.... I just...."

"Stop. Just stop. Take a deep breath."

"Okay. Okay."

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"I knew you were going to say that. Tell me to take a deep breath. What's going on?"

"What am I going to say next?"

"You're going to tell me to sit with you."


"You're going to say something to me, and I'm going to say something back, but we're really not going to be listening to each other."

"Very interesting."

"And then I'm going to look down, and without thinking, your fingers are going to have slipped into my hand. You're going to look surprised too."

"Now I'm having a little trouble breathing."

"And then I'm going to tell you to take a deep breath."

"Okay. Okay."

"So what should we do now?"

"You should sit down with me. And we should get started."


TLH said...

Aw, that's so sweet and beautiful. Keep going!

Margaret said...

I like the way the roles were switched during the conversation.
At the beginning she was in full command and he was hesitant but he managed to take over.

I felt they weren't strangers at all but knew each other well.

Tabitha Bird said...

Jason, you can't stop there! What happens next??? :)
I love the way you let these two characters introduce who they are by what they say. Really good stuff. Loved it!

Karen said...

Wonderful set up! This could become a serial.

Shadow said...

this sounds like a delightful seduction in process...

A misinterpreted wave said...

This was so enjoyable, more please.

Amias said...

Oh I love this dialogue .. and it's so real I feel like I am eavesdropping.

Aine said...

Ahhh...if only.

If only life were so scripted. If only love was so certain. If only relationships were so solid, so guaranteed.

I hope those two know how lucky they are.

Or are they?...

Meghana Naidu said...

that is just so completely surrealistically brilliant.

but i must echo aine's thoughts from above,
"if only"
along with the "are they?"


Laurel said...

Catching up here...

1. Love the intro to your book a couple of posts ago. LOVE it. Fascinating. Couldn't figure out where it was going. Is he sick? Suicidal? Whatever is going on, I want to find out.

2. This is lovely. Mysterious and romantic in equal parts. I agree with everyone else...I want to keep listening.

Aniket said...

Aine said it all...

I wish I was so certain about someone, about love , about life.

But then again I do enjoy the uncertainties too. Love is complicated. :)

Jean said...

A conversation between two souls, after life, almost angels...?
Well done, whichever way you take it.

Akasha Savage said...

It's really difficult to write dialogue alone and to convey all the right feelings and expressions behind the words...but you've hit it on the head. I loved it.

Four Dinners said...

Hope it isn't windy...branches falling and all that...put a sudden stop to it all eh? One of me branches fell off yesterday...high winds in England. Missed me head by inches...well...a couple of feet...


Pissed again...;-)

Nice story old bean


Anonymous said...

TLH, this is a great example of me taking a picture and jumping off from it stream-of-consciousness style.

Margaret, you captured what is probably the most important element for me. The phasing of roles. The beautiful balance.

Tabitha, I think we actually reveal a lot of movement and posture in what we say and how we say it.

Karen, it's been so long since I did a serial. Tempting....

Shadow, very much so. An equal seduction.

A Misinterpreted Wave, welcome!! I hope you find lots of tidbits to your liking. :)

Amias, that is a high compliment. To inspire a bit of an eavesdropping blush with cold words on a screen is a wonderful feeling.

Aine, that is what is so wonderful about fiction. For a moment, it can be. And in having that experience, we can take a piece back with us.

Meghana, yes, it is surreal. That's a great word for it. And that's why I wanted to capture it.

Laurel, THANK YOU for the comment on my novel opening. :) I'm very pleased with what people were intrigued by. I think I put the right hooks out there. As for this piece, it's kind of mesmerizing to me too. I just want to listen as it unfolds.

Aniket, amen, brother. Love is complicated indeed. But then again, I think we can draw strength from a few of these grand beliefs. We do have the ability to create realities.

Jean, I like that read!! It does make a lot of sense that way.

Akasha, I love asking dialogue to carry a heavy burden. Exposition. Mood. Action. Emotion. So much can be packed into the flow of the conversation.

Four Dinners, we just had a girl killed in Philadelphia that way not too long ago. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I thought about all that life, all that schooling (she was in college), leading up to a branch cracking you on the head in the park. It seems so wrong.

the walking man said...

Yes Jason, your mastery of dialog is very much appreciated.

Nevine said...

The moment captured in this dialogue is like a photograph, a snapshot, taken in one moment and kept forever. Moments like this, when experienced in life, are remembered forever. You always do dialogue so well!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I would love to know your continued thoughts here...great look of a moment in time. As always, awesome dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Walking Man, thank you!

Nevine, I like that analogy. It is perfectly framed. Like something to hang on the wall. Every moment not contributing to the intensity has been trimmed away. I have difficulty holding moments, though. I find it very hard to trim away what follows.

Kaye, I'm intrigued by how many want it to go farther. Maybe it's a curiosity about whether such a thing can really be true (even in the fiction world, I mean).

Laurel said...

Maybe it's a curiosity about whether such a thing can really be true (even in the fiction world, I mean).

Maybe I'm less discerning than most but the best thing about fiction is that things happen that can't really be true. We count on the writer to make us believe it anyway. How many songs and books make stalking behavior sound dead sexy? I can't tell you the number of stories that made me swoon when in real life I would have issued a restraining order in about five seconds!

That is why dialogue is so tricky, I think. It has to sound like something not just plausible as the spoken word but in the voice of the character. Dialogue can jar me out of a story faster than nearly anything else. YA books with kids that talk like grown ups or even worse, try to sound like kids and don't, for example.

You have conquered the dialogue world. Everytime I read a conversation here on CoN I want to keep listening.

PixieDust said...

I hope that someday, somewhere, this conversation happens between two real people.