Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Room to Write - "The 'D' Word"

Today write about discipline... Or, you can follow one of your characters through the process of dealing with an aspect of discipline.

I think perhaps I did this one a little closer to spec.


Today was the day that Natalie finally admitted to herself that she lacked discipline. It was that morning, while brewing coffee to take to work with her, that she could no longer ignore it or blow it off.

It was staring her right in the face. Her countertop was so cluttered she couldn’t get to the paper towels she needed to clean up the coffee overflow (she’d used two filters again, damnit) before it cascaded onto the floor.

Now she was going to be late. This was the second time this week, and she had an evaluation coming up.

As she scrambled to clear the way to the towels, she banged her knee on the bread drawer she often forgot to close. She howled and dropped to the floor, bumping her head against the overflowing garbage can. Bits of last night’s taco salad, which she never could finish, jumped out of the open bin and came to rest atop her head.

She did the first thing that came to her. Natalie let out a string of expletives. Then she started to cry.

This was it. No more. The days of being a slow were over. She’d organize everything, toss out what wasn’t needed, pare her belongings down to where she knew where everything was. She’d even make a cleaning schedule, and she’d stick to it.

She’d start it tomorrow, for sure.

Room to Write - "Eat It"

Today write only through your sense of taste. Speculate on and imagine the taste of whatever surrounds you. Without necessarily writing about food, experience the world as flavors.

I’m not sure I went about this exactly as instructed.


My flavor is bitter, spicy and smoky, permeated completely by the tea that flows through me. When I’m angry I become as bitter as an early spring crabapple, as hard and inedible as a cold, rough stone laying in someone’s driveway.

Full of happiness, I am as smooth, creamy and sweet as the finest chocolate ganache. I flow over the lips and tongue with little to no resistance, forming a brilliant symbiotic pleasure.

Those times are few and far between, however. For the most part I am lukewarm and full of quiet smoke, a fine Formosa oolong in a chipped cup. You can pour me full of sugar, but that only serves to mask my true nature.

Writing Exercises

For quite some time I’ve been conjuring up my own writing exercise ideas, things that I call my “1000+ exercises” simply because I force myself to follow the idea to the one thousand word mark and beyond. Many of these have become short stories, some better than others, and it’s for this reason that I’ve generally kept the ideas to myself.

However, I’ve been reading some writers’ books lately (most notably Room to Write) and in them there are many suggestions for story fragments, character studies, essays and simple ideas that get the creative juices flowing but do not necessarily end up with the creation of a salable story.

From here on out, I think I will be typing these up and posting them on this blog. I think I would really enjoy throwing things out for people to read and even share their own ideas, so long as there is anyone still reading this blog. It lays dormant for long periods of time, and for that I apologize.

Today I’ve done two exercises, short ones, and I hope to have them up shortly.