I went to a small and intimate writer's workshop on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Instead of listening to lectures about how to write (plot, style, publishing etc.) we were given actual writing exercises.
One exercise in particular seems to be "write" up my alley. I am not a person who needs to practice ways to discover ideas. I have too many as it is, which can be and is a distraction to actually writing. So this exercise works for me because it is like priming the pump. It's like squeezing a tube of toothpaste that's maybe gotten a little old and hard. If you squeeze hard enough a sudden splarg comes out of the tube, usually far more than you need. This exercise, for me, is like that. And what I like best is that it doesn't cause new ideas for stories to pop into my head. Rather it causes me to think about writing sentences and describing things in a new way. Also, it's very short and doesn't take any time.
It is a mere three line process and turns into a kind of very short poem.
Line 1: Take an abstraction + a verb + a place
Line 2: Describe what the abstraction is wearing
Line 3: Summarize the action.
Now of course, because I am sometimes a bit slow, I had to be reminded about what the heck an abstraction is. Once reminded I got excited.
Abstractions include: love, hate, fear, delight, joy, hope, prudence, anger, glee, reason, happiness, thought, virtue...the list is looooong.
And here are my first three attempts to give you an idea of what you can do with an abstraction.
Anger roars across the rooftop
in a tattered tux
and leaps off the edge in despair.
Reason viewed herself in a mirror.
As she admired her stilettos and lace
the mirror broke piercing her with a million shards
Friendship breathes through aching rooms
wearing the fragrance of contentment
and washes the air clean with her passing.
My goal is to collect 365 abstractions, or other words I can use in this manner, and write one a day.
I think this exercise could also be cathartic, depending on the word picked and ones state of mind. They can also be wonderfully humorous.
I hope someone else finds this as fun as I do.