Note–This is a writing exercise I began a while ago, to practice creative writing. I find a picture I enjoy, mostly off the internet, and then I write a caption to go with it. My favourite thing to write about is people; I love fabricating characters, although they scarcely make it into any of my stories. This character is Mr. Woodword; although the man in question does not exist, to my knowledge, he’s real in my head. If you know anyone of this nature and name, I probably don’t know him personally, but maybe he’ll appreciate this. The picture I used is no longer available; you’ll have to use your imagination.
I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Woodword:
Mr. Woodword was an older man; sometimes I wondered if he ever left the library. He smelt like candle wax and crisp old books, and there were usually ink stains on his tweed jacket. His movements were slow but his eyes were quick, and although he hardly spoke I knew he had a lot to say. His mouth was always caught in a half-smile, like he knew something that nobody else did, some unknown secret that he kept hidden away in the back of the library.
There was hardly any hair left on his wispy head, but he always had a full moustache hiding his upper lip. Mr. Woodword spoke with a stutter, and sometimes he had a hard time forming words. I suspected that’s why he liked books so much, because they could speak an endless amount of words without uttering a sound. But so could Mr. Woodword; his watery eyes could say anything to me without the use of his mouth, and his smile was probably the loudest sound I’d ever heard.
He leaves unfinished books all over the library for me to find, with bookmarks and underlined chapters. I guess it’s his way of communicating with the world. On good days he leaves out poetry, like William Wordsworth’s Daffodils; but when Mr. Woodword is having a bad day he leaves out historic records of World War Two, or the Korean Police Act.
Some days, when it’s raining, Mr. Woodword leaves out picture books. I find bookmarks left in the children’s section, of red dragons and brave knights, and I find pages left open to the green landscapes of Scotland and England. Sometimes I wonder where Mr. Woodword comes from, and if there’s anyone who misses him. Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Woodword misses anyone. On bright sunny days, I suspect he does, for I find William Shakespeare’s love sonnets laid open in the sunbeams by the windows, with his glasses laying next to them. Then I would pick up his glasses and search the library for him, to find him dozed off in the overstuffed furniture in the back, yet another book open on his lap. I would carefully place the glasses on his book and he’d snort and open his eyes. From there, he would nod at me and shakily return his glasses to their place on the tip of his nose. He’d give me a meaningful glance with his watery old eyes and look back to the silent wonders of his book.
I admire Mr. Woodword, whose world fills the corners of the library. I practice in the mirror, to smile like he does, and to respond to the hard times with eyes like the all the languages in the world.