English 4 – the Most Interesting Person You Have Met in 2014

Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).

Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!

– Anton Chekhov, Letter to Alexander Chekhov; May 10, 1886

Describing people — whether real or fictional — in a way that channels their true essence is an invaluable skill for any writer. Through the careful accumulation of details, great authors morph their words into vivid, flesh-and-bones creations in our minds. How can you go about shaping your portrait of a person? Some ideas to explore:

Don’t just list their features. Tell us something about how their physical appearance shapes the way they act and engage with others. For example, see how the author of this moving photo essay, which documents the final weeks of a woman dying of cancer, captures the kernel of the woman’s spirit with a short, masterful statement:

Her eyes told stories that her voice didn’t have the power to articulate and she had a kindness that immediately made me feel like we had been friends for years.

Give us a glimpse of what makes this person unique. We all have our own quirks, mannerisms, and individual gestures, both physical and linguistic. If you’re looking for inspiration, read this blogger’s portrait of her French host family — after reading the first two paragraphs, you already have intimate knowledge of who these people are and what drives them.

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.

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26 thoughts on “English 4 – the Most Interesting Person You Have Met in 2014

  1. Larissa Lappin

    The most interesting person I have met in 2014 is my DACC instructor Angie. Angie knows exactly how it feels to be a teenager in this era because she has kids of her own. Angie is funny as can be but can be serious the next minute if she has to be. She’s taught us a lot about how there’s more to life than technology and drama. She doesn’t care how much you or your parents make money wise because once everybody enters her class room everybody is the same. She’s not only my Health Occ. teacher but more of an idol to me. She has taught our class what is important and what isn’t in life and because of that she is most interesting person I have met in the year of 2014.

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  2. Kayla Teegarden

    The most interesting person that I have met in 2014 would have to be Gracia Harrison. I met her at the Champaign County Fair,this past summer. She was on The Voice and she is a great role model for teenage girls. She doesn’t let anyone get the best of her. She is so nice and she is one of my role models. She makes me feel like I can do anything that I want to do. She inspires me to go the extra mile. Gracia Harrison is the most interesting person that I have met in 2014.

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  3. M_Holst

    Someone who has affected my life in 2014 would have to be Mady Finney. She is not only my best friend but like a sister to me. She knows me more than I know myself sometimes. Mady and I became friends through cheerleading. I never thought I could meet someone who is so inspiring to me and is younger than I am. Mady has been through a lot in her life most recently dealing with the passing of her little sister. I’ve never met someone who was so strong in such a hard time. She teaches me to look at more of the positive aspect in life rather than dwelling on the bad that’s happening around us. I wish I had gotten to know her a lot sooner so we would have had many more memories.

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  4. Shawnee Eisenberg

    I haven’t recently met anyone that I find particularly interesting. But I do know a lot of interesting people. The MOST interesting person that I know is Mr. Ward. Mr. Ward always has a smile on his face and will do anything to make you laugh. He cares about his students and is always willing to talk. His classroom is like a candy store! If I’m having a bad day I can always count on Mr. Ward to cheer me up. I never know what he’s going to say next. I hope to meet more people like him.

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  5. Becca Winkler

    When I think of the most interesting person in my life, I think of somebody that lives their life to the fullest. A person who laughs nonstop and shrugs the negativity off of the world, a person who is not afraid of the unknown, and this person in my life would be Barbie. Yes, her real name is Barbie. She is the type of women that would do anything in the world for anybody even if that meant she had to suffer. She has a laugh that you can hear from miles away but it makes you stop and appreciate the small things in the world. I have only known Barbie for a total of ten months and she has already impacted my life greatly. She has shown me that no matter how crappy life gets, that God gave you a smile to use, so never let it go to waste. She has also shown me to treat everybody with respect even if it was not earned. The best thing about Barbie is she has no idea how much she impacts everybody’s life that she comes in contact with.

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  6. Katie Hickman

    I haven’t meet anybody that i think is that interesting this year. But the person that i think is probably the most interesting is probably my grandpa. My grandpa died a couple years ago but he was and is still one of the most interesting people i have meet. He survived in World War II, he was a medic. I remember him telling My siblings, and I stories about some of the things he saw and had too do. But not only is he interesting because he was in the war but, he was interesting for the things that he did for not only his family but people he didn’t even know. He would do everything he could do to help anybody out weather he knew them for years or just meet them five minutes before. These are just some of the reasons that my Grandpa Rosnette is interesting.

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  7. Alexis H

    When you think of someone that interests you, it’s someone that directly appeals to your interests as well. An interesting person is someone that blows your mind without even thinking twice about it. Before I moved back to Danville, I attended Erie High School. That in itself was an experience I’ll never forget. While I was there, I met many new faces and personalities. The one that stood out to me the most was a senior named Gage Engelkens (Gage E). Not only was he not one of the “popular” kids, he was different. He was the type of guy in the movies that acted too cool for everything, but really cared about people and their problems. The person he reminds me of is Bender from The Breakfast Club. He never really put forth much effort in class, but he was intelligent in the slightest. The reason why he is the most interesting person I’ve met lately is because we share the same likes and dislikes. I could carry on a conversation with him for hours about various subjects that we both knew fluently. As time has passed he has become my best friend and has helped me through many situations that I couldn’t of handled on my own. Gage has shown me that it’s okay to let someone break through the barrier.

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  8. Dylan Dalbey

    One of the most interesting people I have met in 2014 is Eric Rodriguez. A.K.A we call him E-Rod because he is a cool dude. At first when I met him I wasn’t to sure about him but after having a couple conversations with him he is a pretty chill guy. I think he is unique in his way of speech by talking in third person saying E-Rod this and that and it cracks me up! He also has had it rough the past year with his brother Roger passing away.. He has a lot on his plate and he is strictly a family guy and that is why I think Eric or E-Rod is a unique person I have met in 2014.

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  9. Ben Sears

    I haven’t really met anyone new or interesting this year, but the most interesting person I have come into contact with, that I have known for several years would have to be Mr. Ward. He is by far one of the most optimistic and happy-go-lucky people in this school, if not in all of Vermilion County. He is also one of the nicest people, I get the feeling that he is one of those people that would do anything for anyone (within reason). As Shawnee said, whenever I am feeling down or having a bad day I know Mr. Ward is one of those people that will listen to whatever you have to say whether it be a personal story of something that happened to you or if you just need to vent, Mr. Ward is the person to go to. Also, in general he is just a kind and caring person and feels that way towards anyone he may come in contact with whether it be his students or someone in Walmart. He isn’t only a kind, caring, and optimistic person but he is also generous, for example I was in his World History class freshman year and just about every day he would “hook us up” with some form of snack from Twinkies to TGI Friday’s Potato Skins chips and he is still like that today, because the other week I was just sitting eating lunch in the cafeteria and he just walked by and gave me a Snickers candy bar.

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  10. bryan

    The most interesting person that i have met this year, 2014, was Shawnee’s great grandpa Rick. Rick has kidney dialisis and has to hook up to a machine that filters his blood once in a while. He seemed like a very wise man from all the time i was able to spend with him. Shawnee and her mom went to stay at a hotel for her uncle’s wedding, which was the main reason he came down, and all the guys stayed home the night before the wedding. I talked to this man about many things and about some problems i had in life and he gave me some wise advice. I hope i meet more wise individuals like great granpa Rick.

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  11. Katie Moews

    I have met many new people this year but one individual that will leave an everlasting impression is my Great-Grandpa. We have spent a tremendous amount of time together this past year. My Great-Grandpa may not make it to see his 94th birthday in November but 2014 has brought us so much closer. I have grown to realize what an interesting man he is and I am proud to say he’s my Great-Grandpa. He inspires me to work hard and stay positive. He survived the depression. The stories of WWII remain so vivid in his mind it feels as if you are there. He was one of few Americans that fought in two infantry divisions. He received the purple heart among many other awards over the years. I cherish the time we have spent this past year really getting to know each other and I will treasure this forever.

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  12. Mason Newell

    The person that I believe would be the most interesting person I met this year would be a man known as Steve Decker. He seemed to be in his fifties, slouched, a giant bald spot on the front of his head, new just about everything about cars, and had a very deep voice for a small man. Steve sold me my first car and has been working on cars his entire life. He took in totaled cars, fixed them up, and made them look new. Since he had been working on cars his whole life, he said that after he sold me this car he was probably done with working on cars, or in his words ” I’m sick of it”. Steve told me about all of the cars he had been fixing up over the years along with all of the places he had worked at that had to do with the mechanics of a vehicle. Although he seemed serious at some points, he was a jokester. He said that I had most likely already thought out a plan to get as many girls in the car that I could. The reason I chose Steve to write about is because there are not many people who can be serious, hardworking, tell some good stories, and be pretty funny all at the same time.

    On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 8:02 AM, All the World’s a Stage… (Shakespeare,

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  13. Lindsay Lappin

    The one person that I found interesting this year would be my DACC teacher. My DACC teachers name is Kelly Alvarez. Kelly is one of the nicest ladies I have met. She is always making everyone smile and she has a funny story to share almost everyday. She is deffinately someone I can go to if I need something. She is not one of the strict, rude teachers. She is very understanding and cares about her students.

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  14. eric rodriguez

    I would have to say the most interesting people I have met in 2014 are all on the football team. They all have a unique personality and goofy in their own way. We all get along like brothers,and what I find interesting is how quickly they took me in as one of their own. Sometimes things can get a little out of hand with arguments but at the end of the day they have each others back. After we lost that game at PBL I felt as if our bond grew stronger and for a football team nothing is more unique than strangers that quickly feel like family to one another.

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  15. Madi Cash

    The most interesting person I met this year is not anyone. However, I have gotten extremely close with Erin Morris. Erin is like an older sister to me, even though she is younger, telling me what is wrong and what is right. She has shown me true friendship to the fullest. We get in many fights, which never lasts long, but it always results in a text saying something like “Are you mad at me?” just because we know it is a stupid argument. I could never ask for anyone better to call my best friend. She knows how to make me laugh when I am upset and she knows when I am upset. Erin knows so much about me that I may just have to drop her off on some island across the world. As life throws itself at me, I know I will never battle it on my own. Erin will always have my back no matter where I stand. We became friends when she saw me sitting by myself waiting for the DACC bus and she told me I could come sit with her. Ever since then, we have been the closest friends. We have already made tons of memories and I know for a fact there is more to come.

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  16. David Warren

    The most interesting person I have met in 2014 is a man named Earl Gaudio. Every day last summer when I was up at Turtle Run working on my golf game. I would always see this Red Oldsmobile car sitting at the South Side in Turtle Run Parking Lot and this older gentleman looking out onto the course. I always wondered why he was always there. One day I took the opportunity of walking up to him and starting a conversation. So we started talking and he said the reason why he goes out there everyday and looks at the course is because he used to play out there every single day with his best friend that passed away 2 years ago. He said doing that just brings back great memories he had with his best friend enjoying the great game of golf. Earl is a 90 year old man and doesn’t get to play anymore because of a bad knee. I just have so much respect for this old man because he treats me like I am his grandchild. During one of our many talks he shared a private family moment with me. To this day I don’t know why he confided in me because he really hasn’t known me for very long. Maybe he just needed a friend to talk to. He always asks me how my golf game is going and says that he will always be looking for my name in the paper. On a computer this story may not sound like much, but when its happening to you it really touches you and I just have so much respect for the man. So I think this is the most interesting person I have met in 2014.

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  17. Erin Morris

    Meeting new people is a pretty scary thing. During the 2014 school year, I haven’t met many new people, but have become closer with one person in particular. My grandma, Juanita, and I have always been so close. My family history runs very “thick” with alzheimers disease. My great-grandma has suffered for nine long years. I wish that I could turn back time just to hear her cackle one last time. My great-grandma was diagnosed earlier than most people would ever think of having alzheimers. With that being said, I’ve learned to never take things for granted. My grandma is the person I could go to for any and everything, but what if someday that is all taken away and she doesn’t even know my name? These are things that do not get talked about often, and that doesn’t bother me. My grandma is one of the most important woman in my life, and I’m so thankful that her and I have the closest bond in the world.

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  18. Jade Sutton

    This year i havent reallly met anyone intresting, but my grandpa is the most intresting person i will ever know. He is isnt as buff as he used to but hes getting older and the days are getting harder. He is doesnt care what others think about him even though he isnt very social which i cant blam him. My grandpa is my inperation, especially for my artistic side. He used to do wood carvings and burnings, which till this day i wish i could do. He is so smart he basiclly has two hole upstaris which are full of books just like the down stairs. The funny thing is hes probably read all of them. Living with my grandpa and grandma, because i didnt like my new born brother too much, i formed a bond that many people didnt get the chance to. I love my grandpa with all my heart and when his day comes will be one of the hardest days of my life.

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  19. noah

    The most interesting person I have met this year would have to be Cameron Sheets. When I started working at Big R he was the person who trained me for my first week. He is an awesome person and really knows how to talk to customers to make them feel like they are important to the store. He is always willing to help me find something if I do not know where to find it in the store. All of this is great but the best part about him is how hard he works. He works full time at Big R so he can get a better education at college and go on to do bigger and better things. This makes me have a lot of respect for him and he has just shown me many times what a great person he is.

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  20. Jakob Dazey

    The most interesting person i have met this year was a man about 5’5 135 pounds. His name was Wong, from the University of Illinois. Aaron Smothers, my cousin, is a student at the university. His neighbor across the hall is Wong. Wong is a person that loves science and math. He is the smartest person i have met. Wong is going to be a engineer. He also has a likable personality, he cracks jokes and is just an all around funny person. He is from a small town in China, named Manzhouli. He found the U of I on the internet. He started researching and talked to counselors and any different people. He said he fell in love. Wong not only is a funny person but he has became a good friend and a person that i can just talk to, or have a conversation about life.

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  21. Mo

    I have met a lot of interesting people in my life but the most interesting people I believe I have met was “Lucky” and “Innocence”. No one knows how to say their real name because it is very hard to say. They are brothers from Nigeria and now play for the DACC basketball team. They are complete studs! When I first met them I was kind of scared because they are really intimidating, but once I got to know them they are the nicest people I’ve met. The game against Salt Fork they came and watched me play. They always text me and ask me to hangout on weekends and I am very glad I met them!

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