Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 1: Warm Up

Taking my prompt from the book A Writer's Workbook by Caroline Sharp.

She has a list of 30 abstract items and I'm supposed to write a short paragraph on each. Setting my timer for 10 minutes, and we'll see how far I get...

A Circle Smooth and simple, the easiest of forms. A circle is a child's first drawing; the first thing that they identify. "Ball!" says Caleb of his first, misshapen circle scrawled on a piece of orange construction paper. Simple, but endless, too. "Sun!" says Emily as she concentrates her whole being on this page with a yellow crayon in her hand. "Yes, Caleb. Yes, Emily" I say, "Both."

A spiral Staircase Standing at the top of the stairs, the most beautiful man I've ever seen. Standing, not realizing that I'm looking up at him. Holding on to the cool banister in my hand, the feel of smooth, worn wood--just at the first bend--I stopped and turned to look up at him. Five minutes a wife. And I stand on that bend in the staircase and gaze up at the rest of my life.

Classical music So easy to picture the dresses. Crinolines and skirts made of silk. Music of a different time, lit by candles. You can almost hear the rustling in the waltzes. Mozart lifts. Beethoven enchants. But Dvorak... Dvorak makes you weep.

the color red
My mom always stayed up late. A night-owl. Or maybe she just wanted quiet time, with 6 children wanting and asking and needing something. But sometimes, if you got our of bed at just the right time, you could share some of her red pudding. 2 cups cold water, and one packet pudding. Place it on the stove, turn on the heat, stir, and wait. The pudding--thin liquid and pale red. Slowly, you get bubbles of a deeper color. Stirring and swirling the color about, as it turns from a dusty red to a fire engine red to the purest, transparent scarlet. Memories of my mom and me alone--fingers and lips stained crimson.

A summer afternoon, laying quietly on the grass of a small, local cemetery. It is a peaceful place, a quiet place to think. Thunder rumbles and the echoes off the canyon not far away. "I have known some of these people." I think. Thunderclouds grasp and curl around the hills of the mountains. Another rumble. I slowly gather my blanket and book. Get up and start to walk. The clouds begin to stretch out over the valley, and one droplet of rain falls on the back of my hand. Cool. I smell the coming rain--dust and heat on wet roadways. An intoxicating scent. Then--deluge. I stand under the eave of the caretaker's shed. The rain soaks the ground, running in rivulets. It rushes past my feet. The sun breaks through the clouds and reflects off the droplets. Breathtaking. I feel sorry, for a moment, that the people already buried here missed a day like this.

the smell of barbecue
The smell of Sunday afternoons and jealousy.

(hot soup, cold weather, a pillow, a hot cup of hot chocolate, the welcoming bark of a dog,
wood/plastic/velvet/cotton, a bench, television, seedless grapes, being nauseous, spilling a liquid, kissing, a pencil, a tornado, white wine, wet tears on your face, a brick, warm socks,
perfume, fire, the grunt of a pig, rock n' roll music, silk, iron)

Thoughts on this entry...
It took me longer than 10 minutes, even to get to the ones I did, but it was fun! I wondered if I should focus on trying to describe the object, or if I should just allow myself to write whatever associations I had with the word or phrase. In the end, I decided to write my associations since those came easier. I was surprised at how much I had to write about "rain" and could've kept writing. Interesting.


dave said...

you should do another entry about rain then and see what you come up with

Anne Sloth said...

I lOVE the spiral staircase!!

heather said...

i think you CAN!

RaT Babies said...

I think we might stretch ourselves to follow this!

MikeandJen said...

it's beautiful, becca! i'm so happy for you that you're following this dream of yours! :)my favorite? RED