"What Did You Not?"

Exercise #17: "What Did You Not?"
Today's exercise is courtesy of Lisa Coutrurier, a writer who lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
This exercise is to write about what you did NOT notice today. This is a good exercise for getting in touch with one's own or one's character's longing, with desire, with loss. For example, this morning I did not touch my daughter's pale, soft, and fat cheeks... I did not see the sky, I just simply passed on a row below it...

How does one write about what they have NOT noticed today? It's kind of difficult to imagine what all I did today keeping in ind what I did notice, much less what I didn't notice. But that's the point of this exercise, I guess. Think of all of the things that don't think about normally.


  • I didn't notice the tinkle of my sister's cat's, Lily, collar today. She has a bouncy gait and can be heard frequently bounding through the rooms of my house.
  • I didn't notice my metal studs in my ears (That is, until I took them out a few minutes ago.).
  • I didn't notice / realize that I haven't taken my earrings out in a long, long time. That's a little bit gross.
  • I didn't notice the wood grain of my entertainment system. Well, it's not real wood. It's that laminate stuff that's put over sheets of plywood. So... wood, but... not really.
  • I didn't notice the small abrasion on my right hand until about, oh, 2 seconds ago. And I have no idea how I got it.
  • I also have a few scars on my right hand's knuckles that I rarely notice. I don't know how those were formed, either.
  • I rarely notice the weather in my home. I know that sounds a little silly, but think about it. Sure, it's not real weather, but there's a certain amount of atmosphere in a house. We only notice it if it's too hot or too cold.
  • I didn't notice the texture of my living room wall. It's this rough, adobe-like surface and is painted in a dark creamy beige.
  • I didn't notice the shadows cast on my living room ceiling (Can you tell me which room I'm in right now?). As the blades spin, the shadows drift across the off-white surface. If you stare at these quickly moving panels of shadows for a long time, it almost looks like a strobe light.
  • I have never noticed how dirty my tv is. Ew. You can only tell when the screen is predominantly filled with a plain, light color, but still... It needs to be cleaned. Badly.
That's all. 5 minutes up.

You know, I still didn't get a lot of stuff on this one, but once I got going, things got to moving more and more quickly. And then... BING! Time's up. No more writing.

I'm beginning to realize, as I'm writing these exercises I'm not really thinking about the creative writing aspect. I'm just trying to answer the question or fulfill the requirements. Today's was a good example. There's not much writing in there. I mean, I wrote all of those bullet points, yes, but let's get down to it. None of it is publishable writing. Of course, some of these exercises are set up to be like journal entries or list entries, but as far as helping me grow as a writer... My methods are not necessarily effective.

Therefore, I hereby vow to spend the rest of these exercises using the English language well. I want to try to make everything read as if it was written in a book. And a damn good book at that.

Those are my hopes, anyway.

Wish me luck.

Peace and see you tomorrow!


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