Friday, September 28, 2012

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words (well, at least 200)

Writing Exercise #1

There's a writing exercise I've always thought was useful:

If you have trouble with word choice or writing descriptively, this is the perfect activity for you. 
1) Find a picture that's meaningful to you (not one of a bee or a butterfly or a box or a cat, something with meaning, that you have to figure out) 
2) Get a pencil and a piece of paper (or your computer). 
3) Describe that picture as well as you can. 

Since number 3 is kind of boring, I've added a twist to the rules (yes I know, I'm a rebel) 

4) Pretend you're a book character, stuck within that picture. Is the picture sad, solemn, happy, spontaneous? Talk from that character's perspective. 

So I'm going to give you an example. I'm going to pretend I'm a hidden character, watching the girl on the steps (if you know where this picture is from, I do too--fish fingers and custard, guys, fish fingers and custard): 


The dim yellow light flows down the staircase, over her, over the aging carpet, filling the dying room. Her hands are clasped together, hoping.
Hoping for what? I don't know, I don't know. 
She merges with the room, halfway in, halfway out, dying but alive. The blue box, nestled in the corner of the room, it speaks light; it speaks life. 

But what kind of life? Life squeezed and pinched into a science; life where we wonder about how instead of why? A life where science and faith will never unite, and we humans will, no matter what, force them to unite, we will, we must. 
But forever fail. And humans, exasperated, will eliminate faith altogether. 

The light from that box; it's too pure, it's too sweet. 
It's not real. 

Papers scattered, papers scattered. 
I'm not put together. I'm there; I'm not in the right order, though. 

Is a life like that worth it?
A life where we don't know? The pain of love and uncertainty and doubt and melancholy gone, gone forever? But we're left with emptiness instead.  
Is that why she's in between?
Halfway between a meaningless life, and an uncertain death?
Which to choose?
Which to choose... 

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