I’ve decided to expose something a little different here. One of the characters from one of my stories has decided to start keeping a journal. It probably will never end up in any real form, but it’s helped me shape some scenes. I thought I’d share it here. I’m not sharing the setup of the story – I don’t want to frighten the muses away. Just a glimpse into something I’ve been working on.
Let me know if you like it an want to see more. I could be persuaded to release the story on the blog instead of other publishing channels, definitely through my newsletter.
My fellow workers are either dead set against me, or just not very bright, I’m not sure which. They laughed at my recommendations for improvements to the efficiency of the operation. One of the larger, more gruff men, named Ben, told me to “just shut the fuck up” at one point after I had asked why we don’t have new equipment. The general feeling is that I don’t know anything about what we are doing, and don’t have a clue of “how the world works.” I tried to plead my case, and present the facts as I know them, and was again laughed at and made fun of. This is not what I had envisioned.
I understand that I must pay my dues while I learn the difference between reality and theory, but I’m not sure of the methods that I’m being dropped into. I have a specific genius in theory. I have never been tasked with being mechanical. I can admit that it is not a strength of mine. I’ve never felt this way. In addition, no one seems to like me. It’s more than that, though, they seem to have anger towards me. I have done nothing to them except remind them of our duty and need for dedication to the State, which provides and protects us. Someone threw a sandwich at me after I said this during lunch the other day. I don’t understand why they can be so abusive and aggressive towards their benevolent leaders. I have written them up formally to my superiors.
I add nothing to this team. I don’t understand why I am even assigned this work. I fail to have the mechanical aptitude needed for even simple tasks. There are no instructions. All the knowledge is in the heads of my coworkers and they refuse to teach me the correct way to do anything.
After my first letter of complaint, I received a response that told me to try to get along with my coworkers, that the best thing for the group and the efficiency of the unit was for us all to work as a cohesive team. This team has been one of the most productive in the country until I showed up, apparently. Needless to say, it was not a comforting letter. I feel like I am being abandoned. I don’t know how I will ever get along or be a part of this team They hate me. Their disdain seems to grow by the hour, as does their hostility towards me. They constantly tell me, “everything was fine until you got here.” The letter seems to indicate the same. I fail to see why I am here, and what my purpose could possibly be. Maybe I am destined to lead this group back to greatness. I’ll have to gain their loyalty somehow. I don’t know how I would be able to do that without an armed contingency with me. Even then, they seem to be singularly closed minded to any ideas having to do with the well being of the greater good and the interest of the government.
I have written a letter to my mentor, Dr. Philopek, to ask for his advice.
I think I made some slight progress today. I tried not to speak to anyone, and just do my best to follow instructions and figure out how to do the menial tasks I am assigned by our shop foreman, Tillman. Going on the advice from Dr. Philopek, who did respond to me, I tried to “keep my head down” amongst these anti-intellectuals. Dr. Philopek thinks they could just be jealous of my intellect, although I suspect they have no idea of my intelligence since they constantly refer to me as “stupid” or “slow.” I can’t disagree with them, I seem to lack a basic understanding of mechanical things. I came up with a design for a more efficient bearing seal today, but I was unable to remove the existing seal without help. It was disheartening.
At the end of the day, while I was changing out of my overalls, Ben said told me I “wasn’t a complete retard” today. I fought the temptation to explain to him why we shouldn’t use that word. I forced a smile and he slapped me on the back. I have bruise of his hand on my spine. I’m not sure if I like his approval or disapproval at this point.
I’ve started to have difficulty sleeping. When I lie down at night all sorts of questions come to my mind. I am concerned about my future. I seem to be wasting time here, and getting nowhere. I fail to see a path to success like what has been a hallmark of my life until now. I have no one to talk to, and I can’t relate with any of their stories, because they are talking about subjects I’ve never heard of. And when I try to ask them about some of the current events or trends, they seem to have no idea of what I’m talking about.
Tillman reported to me today that I am not making sufficient progress. I confessed to him that I agreed and he seemed angered by that response. I asked him what he wanted me to do, and he said, “Get your shit together.” I fail to understand. I’m doing what I can to fit in and learn, but I don’t seem to be gifted in this area. He told me that supposedly I was the best man for the job according to the placement computer so he couldn’t request any replacement or any change. But if I didn’t start to improve, he’d have to take “corrective action.” I was so upset by this that I failed to ask what that actually meant. I believe my predecessor had corrective action taken against him. I have not heard anyone speak his name or about him if even it was a “him.” I think they may possibly try to kill me. This isn’t working out at all.
I had a dream last night that I was caught trying to run away. It was hard to understand as the location in my dream was my old school, but Tillman was in Dr. Philopek’s space. He was telling me how stupid I was, and how I was going to be replaced by the school idiot. I tried to run away, but every door in the school was locked. The dream seemed to last all night, with me going from door to door trying to find a way out, knowing that I would never find one. I woke up covered in sweat, I think I may have had a fever, dinner didn’t seem to sit right with me last night.
3 thoughts on “Journal Entries from a Character”
Good idea as a way to work through your character’s thoughts and motivations!
Thanks, Becky! I stole it, though 🙂 Updike wrote a whole book through journal entries and I always liked the idea.