"Filmy Fluttery"

Exercise #21: "Filmy Fluttery"
In Dreaming By the Book, a path-breaking analysis of how novelists instruct us to form images in our minds as we read, Elaine Scarry devotes an entire chapter to "rarity." I call it "filmy fluttery." Writes Scarry, "rare objects - ghosts, filmy curtains, shadows - move more easily than solid ones do... Filmy objects - hair, paper, light cloth, flower petals, butterflies (petals in motion) - continually move about in the mind almost without effort." The exercise is as follows: in a typical café, what might be filmy or fluttery? Simply make a list of as many objects as you can, and very briefly describe the way in which these might move.

  • steam above a fresh cup of coffee - The thin white film wafts gracefully in the air, swaying in the current of the air.
  • a woman reading in the corner, playing with her hair - The strands of her cornsilk colored hair slip between the cracks between her fingers and fall slowly to rest on her shoulders.
  • a butterfly passing by the window outside - The black and orange monarch butterfly flits from flower to flower outside, landing gently on a petal to collect pollon.
5 minutes up.

That's sad. 3 objects? Ridiculous. To my credit, however, I haven't been to a cafe in years. I'm a sit at home and read a book while sipping a cup of Red Rose tea type of girl. But I guess that's no excuse. The fact is I just couldn't think of things that were filmy or fluttery. I'll just have to work on that one.

In other news...

I saw Julie & Julia yesterday evening, and I liked it. Meryl Streep was, of course, absolutely marvelous, and Amy Adams was lovely as well. It wasn't really what I was expecting, but still very entertaining. It's not difficult to keep my attention during a movie, and if that simple feat is done I will label the movie entertaining. What can I say? I'm simple.

I will say, however, that it did inspire me to write more. I've been writing (or... trying to write) here for a little while now - and that's all fine and good - but I'm talking about real, creative writing, sitting down with a story in mind and just writing the heck out of it.

I expressed a concern a few posts ago that I'm kind of in a writing lull at the moment and am having a difficult time getting out of it. It's like nothing I've experienced before. Usually, I can sit down and write mindlessly for a good length of time, setting up a scene and flushing out some dialogue and characters, but for the past year I have been relatively incapable of writing even the smallest scene. I have the idea in my brain. I know what I want to write (generally).

So why can't I write it?

Ah, the difficult questions of life. I can only hope that these writing exercises will help to jog my brain and get the creative juices flowing, because otherwise I'm at a loss.

Wish me luck.

Peace and see you tomorrow.


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