Progressive Alternative Writing Exercises: It’s Not What You Said, It’s How You Said It

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the heart will always speak truth, even if the mind denies itself. so, do not waste time with a facade destined to fail. speak the truth always, speak it boldly, speak it fully! let it resound to the heavens and rejoice in the knowledge that you know honesty intimately

Rochelle has had a hard, long day and wants nothing more than to take a soothing bath. In fact, she has looked forward to just that ever since the corporate luncheon at one this afternoon.
She gets off the industrial lift that leads to her spacious loft in downtown Newport. She removes her raincoat and hangs it over the convenient grate at the front door. From the living room the stereo plays, and from the kitchen a sweet aroma hangs in the air. Immediately Rochelle knows that her roommate Ursula is in one of her cleaning modes.
“Hi Urs!” Rochelle calls out. “How was your day?”
Silence is the reply. Rochelle enters the kitchen where Ursula is busy at the counter slicing and dicing, humming something that is not being played on the stereo.
Rochelle smiles and asks, “Urs what you making?”
Ursula spins around grinning, “hi Chelly! I’m making that dish from that show last week. Ya know, from the chef you always watch?”
“Really? Awesome! I didn’t know you liked Chef Graydon.”
“To be honest, I never watched the show. I heard you tell your mom about it. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.”
Ursula rolls her lips and then claps her hands as if an epiphany struck, “your mom called. I placed the note on your bed with the laundry and mail. She sounded upset and said she needs you to call as soon as you can. I hope all is okay”
“Upset?” What else did she say?”
“I don’t want to imply anything but she mentiones the family dog and your kid brother. I could be making it out to be something more than it is. Just go ahead and call her Chelly. Afterward we can have this zuchini fritter dinner with truffle pie, and talk about what actually happened in detail.” Ursula starts rubbing Rochelle’s back, “that sound good to you?”
“Ursula, thanks so much. You’re the best roommate ever. A very dear friend. Thank you so much, I’ll be right back.”
Ursula smiles bigger than Rochelle has ever seen. “Of course hun, anything for you.”

*

Rochelle has had a hard, long day and wants nothing more than to take a soothing bath. In fact, she has looked forward to just that ever since the corporate luncheon at one this afternoon.
She gets off the industrial lift that leads to her spacious loft in downtown Newport. She removes her raincoat and hangs it over the convenient grate at the front door. From the living room the stereo plays, and from the kitechen a sweet aroma hangs in the air. Immediately Rochelle knows that her roommate Ursula is in one of her cleaning modes.
“Hey Urs, I’m home!” Rochelle calls out. A grunt replies. “Um, where are you? How was your day?” Rochelle pokes for a kind voice. She does not get one.
“Fine!” Ursula responds so quickly Rochelle feels like she is hit by a linebacker.
Rochelle passes the living room and enters the kitchen to find Ursula sitting in front of an open refridgerator door, trash bin close by. Rochelle can see that Ursula is not her usual self, so she attempts friendly conversation, “what you up to?”
“Cleaning the fridge out,” Ursula says with a ‘matter-a-fact duh tone.
Before Rochelle can reply Ursula points to the back bedroom, “your ma called about your brother and some dog, the message in your room.”
“Dog? My family dog? And my brother? What about them?”
“I don’t remember. Like I said though, the message in your room.”
Rochelle decides that it would be okay to talk to Ursula later about her attitude and day, but now she needs to know what is going on back home. She leaves the kitchen and searches her room for the message. She finds nothing. Her room is immaculate and everything is in its proper place. A message should stick put immediately.
“Where is the message Urs?”
“In your room like I said. I ain’t your receptionist girl. Just call your ma!”
Rochelle takes the aggressive advice and dials her mother. As the phone rings, Ursula shouts, “and please stop calling me Urs. I told you that I hate it Chell!”
As her mother answers Rochelle grinds her teeth and thinks to herself, you mean like how I hate being called Chell?.

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