Monday, October 29, 2012

Share a Pair of Stories: Write Offs!

This Friday, we will devote our normal class time to a Share a Pair of Stories write off!  Come one, come all, invite a neighbor, bring a friend, or just show up by yourself!  This week's time will be devoted to capturing a special day on paper.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Playing Around: Freeze!

Yet another way to pull out your stories is to do so using the same strategies you did when you played games as a child.  Here are just a couple of ideas on how to do that:
  • Freeze tag/Musical statues:Remember how you'd get stuck in awkward positions?  They were awkward because you were stuck in them without moving, but actually, they were the positions that you typically used getting from one place to another.  Think about freeze-framing a moment of your life.  It could be that moment on the playground or one from your adulthood.  There's always an awkwardness to the moment because you have been caught in transit.  Use that awkwardness to your advantage.  Where had you been?  Where were you trying to go?  What were the awkward strains of the moment and how were they finally alleviated?
  • Musical chairs:Many times in life, we find ourselves forced out of our comfort zone into a new realm, much like that moment you try to lower your bum only to discover that you're out of chairs.  Give an example of growing up/moving on that you perhaps faced with resistance, one you were pushed into.  Tell us why you were hesitant to move on--what was the lure of the group and the music that kept you so keen to stay on the chairs?  And in the end, was the new stage an improvement?
  • Hide-and-seek/hot-and-cold:Who hasn't played hide-and-seek or hot-and-cold?  The house suddenly transforms when you begin looking for hiding places, be they for your body or the prized item you will direct others to find.  Think about your life in the same way.  Usually we think of hiding as something dark and negative, but often it is not.  It is something merely off the beaten path, a small compartmentalized piece of your life that may, in fact, be beautiful.  Is there someone, like the mailman or a store clerk, that you joke with every day that isn't a part of your life outside that moment?  Is there a flower garden that you walk past every day that just lightens your heart?  These are the "hidden" moments in your life that speak volumes about your character and the joy you find.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Playing Around: How Do You...?

Let's face it, there's a way to play.  Whether it's the rules of the game, the strategies to win, or simply the way you manipulated your parents, siblings, or children to get what you want, how you do something is vitally important to its success--and to how much fun you have doing it!

For this version of playing around, think about one of the following items and write about it:
  • What was your favorite game as a child?  Why?  What were the rules?  Did anyone cheat?  What was your strategy?  Try to narrate a piece of it for us?
  • Did you have a way of getting what you wanted from your parents?  How did you do it?  If you have children, do they try the same things on you?  Does it work?
  • Is there a certain way that you must do something that everyone else thinks is quirky?  What is it?  How do other people do it and how do you do it?  Why do you insist on your version?
  • Is there a regional way to do something that you follow--a funny dialect, driving style, or eating habit?  Tell us how you do it and why?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playing Around: Blindness or a Deft Touch?

Okay, so we've dealt with senses for the last couple of weeks, and this week is no different.  Yet it can be incredibly fun.  Again, touch is one of the senses we rely on most early in our lives, and as many new mothers know, the softness of a baby is accompanied by pains in places you didn't even know you had.  A reliance on touch--or at least an exploration of it--can be very helpful to your writing and rather amusing as well.  Consider the following:
  • Looking for something.  We've all gone walking in the dark or shoved our arms deep into a bag or drawer we couldn't see well.  There's always a surprise--and it seems a Lego--awaiting us!  Whether you discuss a literal search in which you must use your sense of touch or a figurative one in which you are "feeling out" future options, the use of this sense in both your writing and your pondering can reveal unexpected sides to even the most common issues.
  • Exploring something.  Whether we're holding an as-of-yet unwrapped gift, your new baby, or a lover, we rely on our sense of touch not only for revelation but also for enjoyment.  Part of our appreciation for something is revealed in how we stroke and finger it.  Take the time to put it in words and allow your reader to appreciate as you do.
  • Wearing something.  Whether it's that pair of jeans that makes you feel incredible or the awesome shoes that give you blisters, the feeling of your clothing not only changes your feelings about yourself but your interpretation of how your clothes feel changes as your circumstances do (haven't you ever felt your collar tighten in a nerve-wracking situation?).  The feelings of our clothing on our bodies--and reports of that feeling--can really heighten the drama of a story when added well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Playing Around: Soooo Good!

You've all seen a dog tracking something, and we've all licked our lips a time or two in greedy anticipation of some scrumptious morsel.  This week, I'd like you to consider anticipation as expressed by smell and possibly taste.  You don't necessarily have to talk about food.  You can use the smell and taste as metaphor (e.g., "There was something rotten about this," or "Something definitely smelled fishy").

Here are some other ideas:
  • Track something.  Use smell to lead you somewhere.
  • Remember something.  They say smell is the basis of our first memories, and the smell of my loved ones on pillows and jackets is something I absolutely use to console myself when they are gone.  Where do familiar smells take you?  What does the juxtaposition of, say, the smell of your grandfather's pipe in a new city cause you to think or feel?
  • Look forward to (or dread) something.  Whether it's the pre-Thanksgiving aromas emanating from the oven or the scent of lilies wafting in from the funeral parlor, those fragrances foreshadow things to come.