Monday, June 10, 2013

Creativity Exercise: The Delight is in the Details

Happy week! We're going to kick it off with an exercise to get your mind back in gear after a relaxing weekend of summer play.*

  • Think of a favorite place. Any old place at all. Or any new place. Just some place that makes you happy.
  • Write 10 details about that place. You don't have to do to this longhand, because coming up with 10 details will keep you focused no matter how you're writing.
For example, I'm thinking of my grandmother's kitchen. And the details are:
  1. The kitchen was in the back of the house.
  2. The house was at 5721 Holmes.
  3. The kitchen was long and narrow, with lots of cupboards.
  4. If you entered from the formal dining room, the sink was on the right and the stove was on the left. There was an eat-in area at the back, by the steps to the basement.
  5. Windows over the sink opened onto the driveways between my grandmother's house and the next door neighbor's house.
  6. My grandmother wrote "Milk" and "Meat" inside the cupboards and drawers so we wouldn't accidentally mess up her kosher kitchen.
  7. There was a poem from Dear Abby or Ann Landers posted in the kitchen. I can't remember the entire poem right now, but the gist was, "Please stay out of my kitchen. And when I am invited to your house, I promise to stay out of yours." Nanny didn't like interlopers in the kitchen. She didn't want help. This was her space.
  8. She didn't mind me in the kitchen, because I sat on the handmade stool in the corner and just listened to her talk and watched her cook.
  9. Toward the end of her life, when she didn't have enough energy to stand at the sink and do food prep or wash dishes, she pulled up a tall stool and did it sitting down.
  10. She twinkled.
Now, here's the wonderful thing about this exercise. I knew, before I started the list, that I would talk about the structure of the kitchen and the poem and my stool in the corner. I had no idea about #10. Because, until I got there, I had sort of forgotten how Nanny twinkled.

And that's not something I want to forget.

Yep. My grandmother. No bull.
OK, I'm ready for the week! Now, your turn!

*You did have a relaxing weekend, right? I'll be talking about that tomorrow.

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