Another Fun Writing Excercise

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

For something fun that can help break you out of a rut when you’re stuck, try going through the dictionary for a bunch of interesting words, and then put them together into a poem or story. You never know exactly what you will end up with.

The Reverie

in my reverie i rode along the zodiac
past scorpio and sagittarius
i heard the zither play
i was sitting with xerxes
eating grapes, discussing the zeitgeist of zoroastrianism
drinking some sort of zymurgy
when the wind rushed through my soul
then, i was riding on a camel
with a yemen sheikh
past men in yarmulke
praying at the wall
in a caravan to zaire or zambia or zanzibar
with a bunch of xenophobiacs
a zulu warrior and his pet zebu
a zouave munching zwiebacks
making zounds to crush the yahoos of spain
and suddenly the world expanded
and i was blown like a leaf
into the xylem of a yucca
bringing me to stand
in the peyote hut of a zuni warrior chief
in a sand painting of the clouds
racing through the sky in a zeppelin on a zephyr
when i came up out of the ocean
off the coast of guam
with water in my snorkel and zoophytes on my arms
and a bad case of the bends.

You can also try words that only start with a particular letter for a fun excercise in alliteration:

Anopheles

Avast! The axial anopheles lurking in the azalea
avaricious in its ardor of
the aliphatic crimson heat;
his greedy brain’s abaci
prematurely counting out his prize.

Rising to the apex
of his azimuth—
a fleshy airdrome
agog—an amateurish astrogator
on the aphelion of grace
actuating his annular descent
an agnostic tourist visiting Alsace-Lorraine;
an aquanaut exploring depths
never before explored

He paid no heed to the accelerometer
Paid no heed to the slapping hands . . .
He gleefully dodged them, refusing to abdicate,
But to no avail—buzzing through the arnica
At last arriving at the abattoir
Of his apoplectic end

(Now, wasn’t that way more fun than just saying the circling mosquito got smacked? Take it and run!)

The Many Hats of a Writer

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago for the Utah Children’s Writers Blog:

I just got home from a ladies social where the theme for the night was vintage fashion and the girls put on a fashion show. There were vintage era dresses and hats from the late 1800’s to present day. I have never seen so many outlandish hats and froofy dresses in one room all at one time!

It made me think about all of the many hats we wear . . . just today I have been a business woman doing outreach for my agency at a charity breakfast, an office assistant, a mom cooking vegetable beef stew and checking homework, a friend, a fashion consultant for my 14 year old daughter, a napkin for my 3 year old, and now I am attempting to put on my writer’s hat, while at the same time serving as a bean bag chair for a child who will not go to bed.

With life sometimes spinning out of my control, I often feel at a loss when trying to fit in time for writing, and yet on those days that I barely have time to think, it is in the quiet moments after the kids have gone to bed (and sometimes after I have finally gotten comfortable) that the ideas start coming in like waves. It can be really irritating. Of course I never have a pen and paper handy, so while I lay there all comfy in my blankets with my pillow just so, staring at the ceiling and knowing that if I go to sleep the idea will be gone in the morning . . .

With my eclectic web of life experiences, it seems like there are always a wide variety of crazy stories bouncing around my head, from pirates on a picnic (inspired by my 5 year old) and tales from the little farm I lived on as a child to the more serious stuff of family dysfunction and teen angst, divorce, and moving to the city.

Even now as I sit here typing, Brie has pulled off one of my shoes and socks, and is asking for a glass of milk. As I get up to accommodate her, I notice that she now smells strongly of perfume and is wearing gray-blue eyeshadow on her eyebrows and lips — how long was she gone? My foot is cold and she is finally falling asleep in my lap . . .