Write on Wednesday – The Neighbourhood Voyeur

The Original Outsider

Sprawled on the ground, the supermarket’s glass entry propping him up, he demands money. His odour of stale beer, piss and shit an affront to the perfumed mothers pulling their children closer as they pass. Their wallets securely shut. A tethered grey, whiskery dog looks on through soullful eyes.

The man staggers to his feet, a heel, a toe, leering from his socks. Clothes hang limply off his nuggety frame. His hair, sandy, greying, wisping aimlessly in the light spring breeze. The spidery red veins criss-cross his cheeks; the map of his life. He sways, shuffles forward and struggles his jacket to the ground.

‘I feel like a Tooheys, I feel like a Tooheys, I feel like a Tooheys.’

His drunken chorus echoes off the glass of the supermarket, the sandstone of the war memorial. Eyes averted, heads tilted away by those who have gentrified his life into extinction. The shipworkers’ cottages extended, bedecked, polished into inner city gems.

The grey-whiskered dog leads a soy latte drinking owner past the man still singing a song he can no longer remember, but is all he has left.

This week’s exercise invites you to call upon the voyeur within…

The Write On Wednesday Rules: Get creative with the writing exercises – there isn’t a right or wrong. Please do try to visit the other members of Write On Wednesdays and leave a comment. You can grab the button for Write On Wednesdays from my sidebar.

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 15 Give yourself some time to notice the people around you. The people who may cross your path each day. The lady in front of you at the supermarket, the man who helps the school kids cross the road, a neighbour, a waitress in a cafe, a librarian, anyone at all. Choose one person, someone you don’t know, and this person will become the basis of the week’s writing exercise. Describe this person as you see them, describe their surroundings. Then imagine a problem, create conflict for this person. Describe the conflict. Describe how your character deals with the problem. The conflict might resolve itself, it might not. It is up to you. Perhaps, the lady in the supermarket has forgotten her wallet. Does she bursts into tears? Maybe the librarian finds a lost child. The aim is to show how your character responds to conflict and in the process, reveal something about that character. Tell us their story.


Let’s aim for around 200 words, keeping with the theme of the last few weeks (to make each word count). Hopefully those of you who are writing ongoing stories will find a way to weave this exercise into your work.

Visit inkpaperpen.blogspot.com to read the other writers’ work.

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10 thoughts on “Write on Wednesday – The Neighbourhood Voyeur

  1. I often wonder about the stories behind people like that. So often we barely notice them or choose to ignore them.

    ‘The spidery red veins criss-cross his cheeks; the map of his life’ Such a descriptive line, really great!

  2. Great piece, I feel kinda sad for the homeless man but I like that he wasn’t put across as demoralised – just a battler. Love love love the line ‘A tethered grey, whiskery dog looks on through soullful eyes.’

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