First, gratitude for the hard work on behalf of Altadena Library and the Friends of the Library for making these workshops possible. Okay boys and girls, or girls and boys, we didn’t get to a couple of other exercises, so as I promised, here they are:
1. Name your writing after this place or situation: In the Dean’s Office, Talking to My Boss, At Lunch with My Mother-in-Law, On the Bus Going to Work, In the Dentist’s Chair, Cleaning My Room, The Job Interview, or whatever comes to mind. It’s your mind reader – go for it!
Write a dialogue in which an annoyingly powerful person speaks the way he or she normally does. For internal dialogue, after several lines of this person’s dialogue, say to yourself in the form of a tired cliche or some slang you use, what you really think – consider these: Your mother eats kitty litter, or praise the Lord and pass the Butter or Walk with me Jesus, or sticks and stones may break my bones, or are you with me; how bout them Dodgers, you can’t please everyone, or Lucy and Ethel in the Chocolate Line, or Gal, don’t call me Gal, or Boy, don’t call me Boy, or job schmob, I’m out of here!
2. Think of something you believe in/wish for. Write 5 or more passages, start with same line, I believe in running free and fast, or I have a wish to swim in the ocean, or If I could talk with my mother for just one moment more.
After you have written the passages, end by repeating the one repeated lines 3 times in a row. (From Creative Writing DeMystified, Bender, p. 31)
Here’s one we did in the 90s at Jamestown Community College’s the Courage to Write Workshop:
3. Suddenly there is a knock at your door. A trusted friend enters to warn you that the Dream Police will arrive in 20 minutes. Everything, everything in your life that you have not written down will evaporate upon their arrival. You have a short time –twenty minutes—to preserve what is most precious in your life, what has formed you, what sustains you. Whatever you forget, whatever you have no time to record, will disappear. Everything you want must be acknowledged in its particularity. Everything, to be saved, must be named. Not trees, but oak. Not animal, but wolf. Not people, but Alicia. As in reality, what has no name, no specificity vanishes.
We are what matters to us. Our identity materializes through images, memories, events and through things. In the above exercise we select what is essential us, what has formed u, what we cannot live without, this as often includes grief, losses and failures as it does joy and triumph.
Some time after, look at this list; put it aside, and then later, examine it. Imagine you are an anthropologist who has unearthed this list of “possessions” that once belonged to some “unknown” person. Write a portrait fleshing out that person, speculating on his or her character and life.
FINALLY, some books which you can get from a library: mine – Without a Net: A Sojourn in Russia, and You Carry the Heavy Stuff, Esther Bradley-DeTally. If local, i have some. If not, Lulu for You Carry the Heavy Stuff, Amazon too.
Creative Writing DeMYSTiFieDm Sheila Bender (I used this). Soul Pancake Chew On Life’s Big Quesitons, Wilson, Gundry, Lucina, Mogharab(Rainn Wilson from the Office, one of the authors, and the GRAPhics are fabulous)
I loved Spunk & Bite also. Read everything, fiction, non-fiction.
Journals – Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers,
Online writing group: CHPercolatorCoffeeHouse for Writers (Yahoo)
I have only touched the surface. Stay tuned and happy writing. Esther