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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Writing Exercise Number One

There are so many things going on at once - but I guess that's how life is. I keep thinking of things I want to post and then realizing I don't have time to put together any of it. So, briefly, something to think about.

I was sitting in traffic, heading to my writer's group this morning. I love this group and was very much looking forward to the writing exercises we would do. This is something new. We decided earlier this winter to use the first Saturday of the month to write. One member of the group comes up with writing prompts and we all write from that jumping off point for about twenty minutes, then we read aloud what we've written.

The first time we did this was a month ago and I was very nervous about the reading aloud part. It turned out that it was very cathartic to write something and then immediately share it, and the things others wrote were really extraordinary. The voice of each writer was just as present in their first draft pieces as ever - maybe more so - but the emotion and power seemed stronger in unedited words which came from a moment, from the heart.

I want to share some of these exercises here. I've decided to do a Sunday series for the next several weeks in which I will post one of the exercises. Anyone who wants to try the exercise can post their writing in the comments here. I will repost any submitted comments along with what I wrote on the following Tuesday. The writing should be spontaneous - just whatever comes to mind from the prompt provided.

Here is the first one.
Today we drew from a bag of prompted first and last lines. I'd like to know what you come up with from these same prompts.

The first words of your essay, poem, letter (whatever you want) should be:

J died

The last words should be:

an Oscar statuette

I admit, I was not thrilled with this last line as I don't watch the Oscars or really have much interest in awards of any kind. Regardless, I was pretty happy with the very short story I wrote using these two lines. I hope I get the chance to read yours.

I want to leave you with what happened next on that drive to my writer's group this morning. I was sitting in traffic and as I very slowly edged up to an intersection, I saw two men with signs and buckets collecting money for charity. The one on my side of the street was a large black man who looked to be in his fifties. He had a kind, round face but a somewhat defeated expression as he walked towards one seemingly oblvious driver after another.

I lowered my winder and scooped a handful of change from the cup holder on my armrest.

His face lit up. He waked towards me with a smile and held out his bucket.

I said, "All I have is some change."

He said, "Change is exactly what we need."

I drove on feeling like that was what I was meant to hear today. I hope it is helpful to you, as well.


  1. Wow, I'm getting some great responses! I've deleted all the comments (submissions to the writing exercise) so far so they don't influence other writers... Please, keep 'em coming!

  2. Hi Shen!

    I am new to blogging, and discovered your blog through Desiree, who I only met through an email she sent to me relating to a friend of mine, Evan, who reads my blog.

    However, I like your writing, and am very interested in your posts.

    I recently set up a writers' group, meeting fortnightly in my home, and we also carry out activities from prompts.I also facilitate a creative writing session (structured to positive fun activities) for in-patients at the psychiatric hospital where I seee my psychiatrist each week.

    I am glad to have the opportunity to read your blog, and I particularly enjoyed the interaction the you and the man to whom you gave the change.

    With warmth, Norm Wotherspoon


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Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

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A lesson is woven into each day.
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