Saturday 4 December 2010, 11:00 am
Winter season has arrived on the Pacific Coast side. Temperatures remain at around 45-50 degrees. It is one hour before the next interview at the Willow’s Rest Café. A hot Americano and prewritten notes laid out. A seat facing the ocean side of the café. It is a lovely Saturday.
A familiar figure appears along the shoreline. He is just shy of six feet in height, slender and pale complexion. A recognizable gait and style of dress. A pace so orderly; clothing a conscientious choice—a style right out of a Paul & Joe catalog. Appropriate weather for a white French collar shirt, tie and a grey and black v-neckline pullover. Paired with equally matched black Zava trousers with Italian pockets in front and back peasant pockets. Footwear always something straight out of Novacas. It suggests a man, conscientious and deliberate. To bystanders he is uncommonly dressed, if not misplaced, to be wandering the shoreline. Only a select few understood, it is by the ocean and Willow trees, where this wanderer is most at ease. This would mark the start of my reflections on Trent Mason.
He wanders along the shoreline for about five minutes. Then stops to gaze out into the ocean. He is calm and carries little outwardly emotion. He continues on, stopping to collect a few shells and rocks along the way. He places a few in the right pocket of his trousers. People walk past him, he does not react to their presence. He remains serious. Acknowledging their presence only when greeted.
Then there are moments one can see this wanderer retreat—into a certain undeniable sadness.
Four separate women in the last quarter hour, greeted him. He politely nodded and walked on. From this distance it is unclear if he even smiled. He stops at a spot by a large rock, near the tide pools. He takes a seat, removing his shoes and socks and placing them neatly by his left side. He walks about the tide pools searching, observing the creatures who go about their marine life. He takes a seat facing the ocean. To remain still for the next 20 minutes.
He reaches into his left trouser pocket and pulls out his cell checking the time. He glances over his shoulder toward the Willow’s Rest, then returns his gaze to the ocean. He takes a deep breath then reaches for his socks, followed by his shoes. He makes his way to the nearest wash station, cleaning his hands from all that he touched. He looks toward the café again and in that direction he goes.
He walks through the Willow’s Rest entrance,
and stands for a moment with a serious expression— he seems anxious. The barista greets him, he responds with a “Hello” and a forced half smile.
I wave my right hand he nods and makes his way toward the empty chair.
It is here where writer and character start to become less than strangers.
Trent Mason, welcome. Thank you for agreeing to meet.
I would say it is my pleasure, but well, from our phone conversation you are aware of my thoughts on interviews in general. So, I will say, thank you for inviting me?
Well, why don’t I begin by explaining the process? You are here because as a character in a story, I would like to get to know you better. I tend to ask many questions; in fact, I prepared a list of questions in case I run out of ideas during our conversation. I want you to know, you are welcome to ask me any questions you like. If you need a break, we will take one. We can do this in small doses or all in one sitting. It is entirely your decision. What questions or concerns do you have about the process?
I may ask you questions?
Yes, of course.
That is different from other interviews.
My goal, is to get to know you better. To that end, I should be open to questions you might have as well. What are your thoughts?
Sounds, fair enough.
All right, before we begin would you like something to drink?
Yes. Would you like me to order you another Americano?
Yes. Thank you.
[Observant, he is.]
All right, let’s begin then. Tell me about your experience while arriving here?
It was fine.
[Few words when asked an open ended question, especially in every day surface conversational questions, with sporadic eye contact.]
I see you have a book with you.
[One word answer, to a more direct question as he stares out the window.]
Tell me about this book you are reading.
Ah, you enjoy poetry?
[A few more one word answers, although now, facial expressions have become less serious and eye contact is maintained, there might even be a hint of a smile. No doubt this is quickly turning into a mutual observation ground.]
Tell me what you like about poetry?
It takes me places.
Yes, I agree, forms of art have a way of moving a person.
Absolutely…one particular poet, Rainer Maria Rilke.
Ah, the Austrian Bohemian poet. What is it like for you when reading his poetry?
His words, I relate to them somehow. I can’t quite describe it….well, so, there is one poem in particular.
Tell me more about this particular poem.
[He pulls out his book, pages covered in flags and notes scattered throughout. Not a single mark or fold on the book itself. Some notes appear to be musical. He hands me the book and points to a poem entitled: L’indifférent
[After reading the poem, there is a moment of silence.]
Is there something that creates movement in you?
What kind of music?
I like a variety of music, but one song in particular is Mad Rush by Philip Glass.
I have always enjoyed his music. What do you like about this particular song?
The undeniable sadness.
[A natural need for silence occurs, once again. I pause and let him finish his thoughts.]
Rilke, I would use that phrase to describe Rilke: undeniable sadness…
Tell me more about that?
It is what first attracted me to his work…then I started composing music to his poems…well, my interpretation of his poetry, that is.
Fascinating. What instrument do you play?
Piano. I started playing when I was very young, it was only 10 years in the past I started reading Rilke.
What does undeniable sadness mean to you?
Sorrow that cannot be avoided, inherent…
[He pauses once again.]
I am ready for a break.
All right, when should we continue?
How about in a week’s time?
[It is here I learn, Trent Mason works in small doses.]
[Writer’s notes] There are certain words he enunciates when speaking, those words are in bold and italic to denote a different inflection he uses; different from his common speech pattern. It is uncertain if he is aware.
Every year on the birthday anniversary of Rilke, I make it a point to re-read one of his books. On December 4 of 2010 a story named after L’indifférent was created. This post is from notes written to develop the character of Trent Mason at the time of creation. The story was written and three years later turned into a Sims 3 series. In the series, there is an older version of Trent, which will look slightly different from the images on this post, this is the most current physical appearance of the character.
The series can be found here.