Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Choices, choices

"Before every point at the United States Open, the server will turn to a ball person and request a ball. Or two. Or three, maybe four. ... It is a long-held tennis ritual, the choosing of the balls, a process built at least as much in superstition as in science. ... Whether there is truly an appreciable difference is debatable, but the process of choosing the ball offers glimpses into the psyche of the players. ... Andy Roddick ... sometimes looks at several balls resting on his racket, like a chef holding an omelet pan, looking for the sleekest one that might go an extra mile per hour. ... If nothing else, the few seconds it takes to choose a ball can buy players time to exhale from the previous point and focus on the next."

Describe someone choosing in a ritualized manner. Life is in the details and glimpses into the rituals a character uses to soothe himself can bring the character to life.

It can be arrows for a battle. Ingredients for a spell on one they hold a grudge against. Paper and pen for a letter. Outfit for a speech. Salvaged parts to repair a robot. Ax for an execution. Eggs for the queen's omelet. (The details may reveal more about the cook than her need to create something perfect for the queen. Or maybe she hates the queen but still needs to turn out a perfect omelet to keep her job and continue with her plot.)

(The above quote is from A Ritual With Roots in Science and Superstition.)
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