Story Style: Mara Does Barrel Turns, Smokes Awkwardly

If any of you have been reading Yes and Yes since the very, very beginning, you might remember the character sketch posts I used to write.  I loooooved writing those posts.  The problem?  Those are real people.  People with whom I have only one degree of separation.  I might run into them at parties.  Or they might friend me on Facebook.  And as this blog has become more widely read, I’ve become increasingly aware that maybe That Guy From My Dorm would recognize himself and not want me telling the internet about his sexual predilection for Cheese Nips. But!  I loved writing character-based snippets.  So I want to launch a (sort of weird) new series, inspired by that age-old creative writing trick: pull some words out of an envelope and then write a story about them. But in this case, I’m going to grab some weird accessories or clothing off of the internet, assemble a tableau of sorts and write a mini story.

Here goes nothing! (inspired by this backpack)



When Mara was 24, she fell in love with her family’s 18-year-old foreign exchange student and moved back to Finland with him. She lived with him in his childhood bedroom for two months before the novelty wore off. Sometimes when she drank too much she’d do barrel turns down the middle of the quiet suburban street where she grew up, even though she knew this embarrassed her parents and annoyed the neighbors.  She enjoyed styling herself after mid-90s Drew Barrymore and practiced holding a cigarette in her lips in that loose, casual manner.

When she was 26, she worked three jobs to save up enough money to backpack through Europe and was disappointed to find that mostly she just hung out with other Americans doing the exact same thing.  In Rome, she met a boy in a bar who had curly hair and white jeans and liquid eyes.  “This is it!” she thought!  “This is my great travel romance!”  He did give her a ride on his motorcycle but he was a terrible kisser who tasted of root vegetables.  And not in a good way.

He did, however, introduce her to Mary.  Who introduced her to Jon.  And Jon told her about the farm where she could pick grapes in exchange for a small bedroom under the eaves and three meals a day.  It was harder work than she expected, but better, too. 

So here’s the trick!  If you find a weird/interesting/character-developing shirt or dress or purse and you think I should write a style story about it, leave a link to that piece in the comments!



well done! i had a phase quite similar to mara in fact. i'm going to try this exercise too, perhaps it will crack my aged writer's block. thanks as always!!


Heheh I love how it took a turn for the…"Yes and Yes" with the work-exchange. 😉 And how his flaw was that he tasted of root vegetables. You are the best.

The Dame Intl

Awesome! I did this a few months ago when I went on a Polyvore binge, I found as I was making outfits I was thinking about the person who would wear them and then made up stories describing the person I styled for in the description of the sets, such a fun way to get your writing juices going!

Alicia Jay

I didn't read the blog when you did character sketches, but I love this idea. It's fun to have a space dedicated to imagination and creativity. Mid-90s Drew Barrymore style is also my favorite so I'm glad to see her get a shout out!


This is weird and wonderful. It's nice to see you mixing it up & trying something new on the blog– v. fun!
Also: That backpack… o, mg!


When I showed this to a friend she goes "what are barrel turns?" I immediately directed her to all Rogers + Hammerstein movie musicals. The horror.


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