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michael loveday

Light – A Writing Activity

light-1-a

The days are getting longer, very gradually. This exercise gets you thinking about light, and the many forms in which it appears.

  • Think about daylight first. Each morning, thank goodness without fail, the sunlight gradually greets us. Think about its qualities. Maybe there’s a particularly memorable dawn you once saw, and a story around it which you want to tell. Think about the sheer power of the light from the sun – it can even be dangerous – if we’re driving and momentarily blinded, or when it causes skin cancer, or if we use a magnifying glass to focus its rays. Maybe there’s a fictional story to create in which a character is momentarily blinded by the sun and risks his / her life, or someone else’s.
  • When the natural light lessens then artificial lights come on – street lamps, house lights, headlights. And twilight is an in-between time when perceptions change, a time symbolic of near-endings, dwindlings, and change generally. Maybe something particular happens for you or your character at this time.
  • And how about when it’s night…. There’s the cold light of the moon, reflecting the light from the sun. There’s the monthly full moon, with all its associations of wildness (literally lunacy) or romance. There are stars, each shining with a different quality of light – some twinkle rose-pink, some glimmer white – and often planes pass overhead slowly with tail and wing lights blinking. Shooting stars, or satellites, sometimes delight us. Maybe you once stayed out at night lying on the ground watching the stars and the night sky. Maybe you were an expert on the constellations as an avid science student. At night, the lit windows of trains hurry down the tracks, the windows of houses offer a small yellow square in the dark. Maybe you see something through one of these windows, maybe even something secret, something you shouldn’t have seen.
  • Maybe you have a favourite lamp, or there’s a lampshade you inherited, and it has a story to tell.
  • Maybe the light from your mobile phone stops you sleeping at night and you’re exhausted, and you want to sing about it.
  • Maybe you want to create an exciting story about something that happened in the dark – in a forest when someone’s torch stopped working, in an ancient imaginary cave when the fire went out, in a cellar at the bottom of a house.
  • Maybe you’ll choose to imagine what it’s like to go blind and lose light – or, conversely, to gain too much of it – to enter the long, sleepless Scandinavian summer waiting for a restful night-time that won’t arrive?

Real or fictional, write a story in which light is important.

[this exercise is derived from Jo Bell’s marvellous blog of writing exercises called “52”, one for every week of the year

https://fiftytwopoetry.wordpress.com/

Look out for a soon-to-be-launched book of writing activities by Jo Bell, based on her blog]

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Writing Exercise – “Food”

Colorful Fruit Food Square Background

Food delights the senses – tempts the taste buds, conjures aromas, seduces us with colours and textures. Here’s an activity which really allows you to explore your senses through writing, by focusing on the theme of food from a number of possible angles.

(1) Write about a particular meal you once had that was memorable. Talk about the occasion, the setting, the conversation, as well as the food itself. Maybe it was memorable for good reasons, maybe for the wrong reasons.

(2) Write about a favourite food, and what it means to you, as well as describing the food itself. Maybe you can come up with an unusual simile to conjure up what eating this food is like.

(3) Write about a time you gave food away to someone who needed it more. Or perhaps more dangerously, write about a time when you failed to do so and walked away guilty.

(4) Maybe you once used to get food cravings for a particular type of food (I nearly typed pearticular there). Write about the experience.

(5) If starfuit make you think about that visit to Africa, write a story where you eat a starfruit and are taken back there in your mind.

(6) Write a commentary on politics about food banks, world famine, food wastage, recycling. Get angry if you want to.

(7) If there was a strange food or a particular recipe which you used to rely on when recovering from illness, write about that.

(8) Maybe you once tried a really unusual, exotic or strange food. Tell us about it.

Adapted from Jo Bell’s marvellous poetry blog “52” – fiftytwopoetry.wordpress.com

Exercise – I am / I am not

This week’s exercise uses pattern as a framework for your writing.

First, write a series of sentences beginning “I am…”. See if you can write at least 10 such sentences. Aim to make your language as inventive and startling as possible. You can put in as much detail as you want, and the sentences can be long or short. The statements can be fictional or strange if you wish: e.g. if you want to say “I am a smuggler of lemons” then go right ahead.

After you’ve written your “I am…” sentences, then write some “I am not…” statements. Again – long or short, fictional / strange or factual / realistic, it doesn’t matter.

Lastly, when you have completed both separate lists, then combine them into a finished piece of writing, alternating “I am…” / “I am not…” statements. You may want to put your statements into a new order, if re-arranging them seems more interesting. You may want to drop some of the statements that were in your original lists when it comes to producing the final combined list. And you may want to edit the details of the sentences when you see them alternating, to draw out connections or contrasts between them.

A big thank you to Kate Simpson for sharing her inspirational piece made during the “I am” / “I am not” Creative Writing activity:

Dictionary

 

Peruse

 

Curtains

 

The end

 

It was the end of the day I closed my curtains and began my crossword puzzle. In order to finish it I had to cheat a little and peruse my dictionary.

 

——————-

 I am a sociable person who loves a good party where the laughter rolls around the room.

 I am stardust on an inky black night

 I am someone who runs at the speed of lightening

 I am not Twiggy by any means but a corpulent cabbage of a man

 I am not horrendously happy at work

 I am not a super star but I am well known in neighbourhood not necessarily for the best of reasons.

 I am a sociable person who loves a good party where the laughter rolls round the room. Despite being a corpulent cabbage of a man and no twiggy I can dance the night away.

I am someone who runs at the speed of lightening and find racing gladdens my heart particularly as I am not horrendously happy at work which is in the local neighbourhood and not necessarily for the best of reasons!

I am not twiggy by any means but a corpulent cabbage of a man

I am not a super star but I am well known in the neighbourhood not necessarily for the best of reasons.

I am not horrendously happy in my choice of work.

– Kate Simpson

 

 

Exercise – Friends

A new exercise for this week is about time with friends. Describe one specific vivid experience shared with friends or a friend.

The friend you pick should ideally be someone other than a family member or a lover. You might focus on a friend you still see regularly, or one you haven’t seen for a long time. A friend you have lost, or one who lives right next door. They can be any age, and the story can be recent or old.

No need to spell out how the particular experience with that friend signified something grand or important. Just immerse yourself and the reader in the experience at that time, as it happened. The moment you describe can be unusual or it can be ordinary. Your language might be excitable or regretful or peaceful. Focus on describing the concrete details of the experience, and painting the scene with words so the reader can visualise it.

Exercise – Questions

Setting a fixed framework to write within often liberates the imagination. This exercise is one based around questions….

The task is to write a list of questions. Use the following words as the first word of each sentence, in exactly the following order –

 

How / Can / What / Or / Is / When / Where / Who / Will / Have / Which / Why / Do / Would / Shall / Did

 

The theme for your list of questions is completely open. You can make your questions random, each one completely disconnected from the next. Or they can all be on the same theme, or following a particular subject, set in the one single context. It can be an absurd list, it can be gibberish and comical. Or it can be serious. Or make it strange and unsettling. The questions can be written from a familiar context, such something to do with your daily / weekly routine, or your own life. Or they can be written from  completely imagined perspective. Serious or comical, you are free to invent exactly as you please within this fixed framework.

The Story Of Your Name

WRITING EXERCISE – THE STORY OF YOUR NAME

 

There is often an interesting story behind a name, and it can be an interesting trigger for some creative writing. Here are some questions to think about, in relation to your name. See if they prompt interesting answers, and give you any ideas for recording “The Story of Your Name”.

 

  • How did you get your name and why was it chosen? Which parent chose your name? Is there a favourite family story about how you got your name?
  • What does your name mean? Does your name mean something in a different language?
  • Is it a traditional name in your family, i.e. are you named after a relative, or do you have other relatives with the same name?
  • Are you named after someone famous? Why?
  • Is the name you are called by not your first name, but a second name, or a nickname, or a variation on your formal name?
  • Is your name misspelled often? Do people mispronounce your name?
  • How do you feel about your name?
  • Is there a name you have often thought you’d rather have, or ought to have?
  • What about the sound of your name? Do you feel it is a hard or soft sound? Warm or cool? If your name was a colour, what colour would it be?
  • Very often, people have multiple names, or variations of their name, for different situations and people – a different name for friends, family, work colleagues & employers, bank managers, doctors etc. The different variations can be like different hats that we wear for different occasions. Sometimes they are hats we choose to put on outselves, and sometimes people put the hats on us without us having a choice about it. What is the story of your name(s) in this respect?

 

You can relate this exercise to any middle names you have, as well as your first name.

 

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