Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.
Scene: In that indeterminate zone of the body (heart? brain? soul?) where thoughts other than “blink” and “this mosquito bite itches” are produced…
Intellectual Emily: Will you all please focus? We need to present a united front.
Rebel Emily: I’m sorry, I thought we were forbidden from showing any front at all. We don’t even own a strapless bra, fam. We should flaunt what we got.
Disembodied Voice of Emily’s Mother: You should respect what you got.
Rebel Emily: You live thousands of miles away! How can we even still hear you!?
Disembodied Voice of Emily’s Mother: Years of strategic psychology.
Intellectual Emily: WILL THIS MEETING OF THE MINDS COME TO ORDER! We need to brand ourself.
Rebel Emily: Why?
Intellectual Emily: Cute Boy.
Hopeless Romantic Emily: (sits bolt upright on the fainting couch) Where?!
Rebel Emily: He will love us for who we are if he knows what’s good for him.
Intellectual Emily: And are we actually a caustic, pugnacious faker, varnishing our doughy, unbaked personality with a very little worldly knowledge and profanity to seem“edgy” and confident. In simple words—a bitch?
Rebel Emily: Well you’re definitely at least one of those things.
Intellectual Emily: You always try to make us sound like we don’t need anything.
Rebel Emily: We don’t. We think fast. We solve problems. We take names not shit.
Intellectual Emily: See, words like that make the rest of us uncomfortable. You make us sound tough. You never let us just be giddy, happy, and girly. Let Hopeless Romantic Emily or Artist Emily have a chance. I feel like we’re not allowed to be feminine around you.
Rebel Emily: I make us sound badass. Innocence is like wearing antlers and a “Free Barbecue” sign in a cheetah preserve.
Feminist Emily: Which one of you should I be voting for?
Intellectual Emily: We need to pick one of us as a representative. I think it’s an auspicious and appropriate occasion. We’ve achieved a lot of life milestones recently and our college-era operating system is outdated and needs upgrading. I can’t click “Try again later” forever.
Free-Spirit Emily: (Scrolling through Anthropologie’s still impossibly expensive “sale” category) Oh believe me, you can. Remember the computer we never updated? We had it for years.
Hopeless Romantic: (sighs dramatically, draping a lace be-ruffled arm over forehead) The Nerd always insists on talking to boys and is always pretentious and nervous, so then you say stupid things pretentiously. I will find a way to bear it; the only wedding we will ever have will be on Pinterest.
Artist Emily: That’s fine by me. I keep telling you guys, typically when we’re watching the sunset on the way to work, that we should move to the UP and refurbish a lighthouse. You all are trying too hard for the approval of small brains and small dollars for small delights. We need to create! We need to live on the edge of the precipice of beauty and stare into the empty night beyond and learn from stars hurtling into it unafraid! You get me right Nerd.
Intellectual Emily: Not on this side of midnight. Sorry, dear.
Free-Spirit Emily: I don’t really care what we do but I am totally tired of pretending to be funny so we don’t sound arrogantly smart about the things we know or stupid about the things we don’t. In general, I’m tried of making this decision based on other people. We branded funny for college because everybody was smart and grade-obsessed. We brand tough and independent so we’ll be feminist enough. Can’t we just be us?
Intellectual Emily: That’s what we are trying to decide! What is us!?
Inner Child: Why are you all still up?
Rebel Emily: Sleep is for the weak! We are warriors forged in caffeine and term papers!
Inner Child: You’re awful loud. What are you doing?
Intellectual Emily: We’re deciding our identity.
Inner Child: Oh—playing pretend?
Intellectual Emily: Not quite, but you don’t need to worry about it.
Inner Child: Of course, identity is just pretend—you’re playing out a story you saw some where making somebody happy—and personality is just dress-up. You’re just bones and words and wanting underneath. Good Night!
Rebel Emily: Creepy kid.
Artistic Emily: Always was. Where do you think we get it from?
Intellectual Emily: Always will be.
Hopeless Romantic: This! This “I’m so profound I have to scrunch up my face and pause when I say cheesy crap”! This is why no one dates us.
Emily Stroble is a writer of bits and pieces and is distractedly pursuing lots of novel ideas and nonfiction projects as inspiration strikes. As an editorial assistant at Zondervan, she helps put the pieces of children’s books and Bibles together. A lover of the ridiculous, inexplicable, and wondrous as well as stories of all kinds, Emily enjoys getting lost in museums, movies old and new, making art, the mountains of Colorado, and the unsalted oceans near Grand Rapids. Her movie reviews also appear in the Mixed Media section of The Banner and her strange little stories of the fantastic are on the Calvin alumni fiction blog Presticogitation. Her big dream is to dig her hands deep into the soil of making children’s books as an editor…and to finally finish her children’s novel.