John Marsden Writing Topic #121

Write a conversation where one person convinces another to change his/her viewpoint on something.**

A woman is sitting on her favourite park bench with her lunch and lunch bag; she has a sandwich in her hand, about to eat it, when an elderly gentleman with a cane appears. He stands by the side of the bench and leans on the arm rest.


MAN: Excuse me young lady, are you an Aussie?

WOMAN: Excuse me?

MAN: I said: ‘are you an Aussie?’


MAN: That’s good, you can’t tell the difference these days.

WOMAN: Really, is that so?

MAN: Yes.


The man sits down next to her, too close for a stranger, but not too close to invade her personal space. The woman puts the sandwich in her mouth, about to eat it.


MAN: Back in my day, you knew an Aussie when you saw them, now you don’t know with so many immigrants walking around.


The woman puts her sandwich down on her lap.


WOMAN: They’re not all immigrants. Most of those “immigrants” you see were probably born here.

MAN: I thought you said you were an Aussie?

WOMAN: I am! My mother, my grandmother and even my great-grandmother were born here, as well as my father and my grandfather and my great-grandfather. Defending people from other cultures, even if they are immigrants, doesn’t make me less than Aussie! And most “Aussies” are descendants of British convicts!

MAN: Alright! Alright! I get your point, back in my day, women weren’t so testy and kept their opinions to themselves!

WOMAN: Well, with all due respect, those beloved days of yours are gone.


Woman picks up her sandwich, places it back in her lunch bag, grabs her handbag, gets off the bench and walks away.


MAN: (Sigh) Maybe she’s right…



**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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