Confused on a Train- Creative Writing

Creative writing- finish the story:
“You remember scheduling the appointment to have your wisdom teeth removed. You remember the mask being lowered over your nose and mouth. You remember the world slowly turning black.
You’ve just regained consciousness. You’re on a train. There’s a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist. Searching your pockets, you find a note.”

You stare at the note for a minute. Actually, it’s not a note; it’s just a blank piece of paper. Confused, you look around the train. Its midafternoon you think, there is not many people on the train. But, there is an older man sitting a few seats away staring at you. When you make eye contact he looks away quickly, but soon turns back to look at you. However, it’s not an uncomfortable, creepy stare, but a genuinely concerned, interested look. You sit in your seat for a couple more minutes contemplating your situation- it’s not very clear what’s happening or how you’re going to get out of this. Finally, beginning to get anxious, you decide to go talk to this man still looking at you. But when you try to stand up, you realize there is still a briefcase attached to you. You try to open it, but is locked. You begin to gently shake it; it sounds empty, except for the faint rustling of something. Trying not to look noticeably panicked holding a briefcase, you walk towards the old man. He sits up straighter when he sees you’re going to him. You sit down next to him, and start to ask your questions.

“Um, do I know you? Because I’m really confu-” Before I can finish, he cuts me off with “are you in some type of trouble or involved in something bad? When you got on the train you looked scared.” Excited that he may know something about my situation, I ask him to tell me exactly how I got on the train and what I was doing. Confused, he starts to describe what happened a hour earlier; “You walked on the train around 1, while actually you staggered in, looked around repeatedly and went and set in that seat over there. When you sat down, you seemed kind of relieved and just held the briefcase and patted your pocket.” “While, I checked my pant pocket and there was nothing in there, and I just had my wisdom teeth removed, so I was a bit loopy,” you explain. “No, your jacket pocket” he says staring at it. Cautiously, you reach in to your pocket and pull out a note and a tiny package. You open the note and it read- “get out at the next stop, then open the package.” Assuming it’s no coincidence, you feel the train come to a stop and open the door. Thanking the old man, you stand up and walk out of the train. Looking around, you don’t recognize much, but do as the note says- open the package. A heavy, gold key falls out. You stare at it and realize that it opens the briefcase. You put it in the key hole, and hear the tiny click when you turn the key. The briefcase pops open, and you gaze at what is inside.


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Interviews: Invisible Man

Considered one the best novels written after WWII, Invisible Man follows the journey of a young African-American finding his way from darkness to light. While the novel may be profound and immensely interesting, the man behind it is even more so. Ralph Ellison seems to embody eloquence; when giving an interview in the late ‘60s, he presents himself in a captivating way. He doesn’t speak too forcefully, nor quickly (in fact he stutters just slightly), but what he does say is quite elegant. He begins the interview talking about the United States, and all the novels about it not really capturing its’ idea. Ellison then delves into his uncomfortableness during interviews, even though he finds the whole ordeal fascinating. He worries that people will be “Interpreting [his] face, [his] statements in terms of [his] racial identity rather than the quality of what [he has] to say” (3:45- 3:55). While during that time period that may be true, today- and probably then- people had to appreciate his manner of speaking and the sense of humbleness he give off, no matter his race.

Ellison talks of having the greatest state of “Unconscious focus … when [he’s] writing,” particularly when he began writing Invisible Man and how that focus helped him to write the first line of the novel “I am an invisible man” (10:50-10:55). He muses on the length of time it took him to complete the novel and his motivation to (seeing an old friend with a puffy, insane face, then waking up to his puffy face), then how difficult it was to incorporate certain events. Ellison describes “snatching [moments] out of the realm of known” being troublesome because he “knew that [he] was giving them another meaning” (12: 40- 13:00). Which is interesting to find out that some moments in the novel weren’t just made up, but snippets from his own life. This interview was interesting, watching it the first time will help to give someone the idea of Ellison’s eloquence and the ability to sound ridiculously intelligent, yet humble. But I think if someone were to watch it again, and really understand what he is saying and his ability to convey messages, they would be amazed.

Ellison’s Interview: