Notes on “Tickets”

There’s an interesting story to how I wrote the mini-short story “Tickets”.

Our Creative Writing teacher, Jim Burke, had asked the group in the previous class to study the physical appearance of someone whom they see at a cafe or at a park, and in describing how they look, try to come up with a character study. I found this exercise difficult and although I tried to write one I never submitted it. I told the class that I didn’t believe that I could write about someone’s character by just studying his or her physical appearance. “Appearances are deceptive,” I said. “Someone can look a certain way, for example, have a cruel and unkind face, and yet be incredibly kind. And vice-versa.”

The truth is, I never found anyone very interesting to write about. I studied two different people during lunch one day and neither of them seemed worth the effort.

However, I did find the individuals that my classmates wrote about very interesting, at least through the pieces they wrote. The couple in the restaurant with the talkative wife; the woman in the park eating her way through a box of muffins; the dope-head smiling and chuckling to himself at a campfire; the tired worker in the metro car with an unread John Steinbeck novel in his hands. These seemed like interesting character studies. When Jim suggested that we write about characters in conflict, I picked on the man that one of our group had watched standing in line to buy Barbra Streisand tickets but who backed away without buying any after hearing how much they cost.

So, right then and there, with Jim continuing to talk only a few feet from me, I wrote the short, short story “Tickets” and feel that I could easily write a couple of others on the characters my classmates have provided me.

Thanks guys!


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