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Showing posts from July, 2009


Exercise #11: "555" This is an exercise to help flesh out a fictional character. This might be a character in a story or novel you are already working on, or it might be a new one who emerges here. Whatever suits... Feel free to change the gender. List 5 poeple he secretly resents and why. List 5 things he would like to do before he dies, but won't. List 5 things that could happen so that he would, in fact, do one of the above. My character, I've decided, is a guy that is a few years out of college. He played football all through high school and college, but in his last season he tore his ACL, putting him out of the game for a long while. Needless to say, he probably won't be playing football professionally, and he's a tad bitter. 5 People I Don't Like: Bill Gates - He's a dork, and he makes more money than me simply because he's a dork and likes to play with computers... Justin Timberlake - Because he's Justin frigging Timberlake and can do a

"Characters' Dreams"

Exercise #10: "Characters' Dreams" Oftentimes a character's dream can be very telling. Sketch a dream for one of the following characters: a man about to get a bitter divorce and facing financial ruin a woman 3 weeks away from giving birth to triplets an elderly janitorial worker about to win the $100 million lottery Divorce Paired with Financial Ruin: .....I'm sitting in my leather easy chair, enjoying a relaxing snooze in front of a cozy fire. All of the sudden, I wake up, and the fire has grown in size almost enough to be alarming. I start looking around for some sand or water to throw on the logs to quench it, but there's nothing around. In fact, the only thing in the room is my chair and the fireplace. Where is all my stuff? I bet she took it. All of it. Her and that jerk of a boyfriend. I wish I had seen it coming, but I was... otherwise engaged with work and... things. Sure, part of it is my fault, but still... She could have talked to me, asked me to p

I Actually Remembered a Dream! Well... Sort Of.

I never remember my dreams. Ever. I may have an inkling that I had a dream somewhere in that place between wakefulness and REM cycle, but once I actually open my eyes and acknowledge that I need to get up, poof ! It's gone, never to be thought of again. So naturally, in the rare occasion that I do remember a dream, I get very excited. It makes me feel "normal," because so many of the people I know talk about "this dream I had last night" and how bizarre it was. I am never able to respond, "Man, I know! I had a dream the other night that was kind of similar..." or "Dude, you think that's strange? Listen to this dream I had!" I felt so left out when I was little that I started to make up really bizarre dreams so that I wasn't so out of the loop. haha I know, I know. I'm weird. Anyways, the dream. I remember a ton of running. It started at my high school, and I was just meandering the halls, but it was like a normal school day. I

"Letter of Complaint"

Exercise #9: "Letter of Complaint" Your character, who is odd (either somewhat or extremely), writes a letter of protest to the manager of his or her local grocery store. Write the letter. To Whom It May Concern: I am appalled. Simply appalled. I walked into your store today (July 28th, 2009) and was completely shocked by the lack of order in your spices aisle. Now, I consider myself to be a merely a spice hobbyist who is a fastidious, somewhat well-versed spice connoisseur, and I can only imagine how someone with extensive knowledge on the subject might react to your utter disregard for spice storage. I will list my grievances below: The spices are in alphabetical order (seen in the picture on the right). Now, to the layman this might be acceptable, but when you get down to it, not all of the spices serve similar purposes. For example, if I'm making tomato bisque I would most definitely not put cinnamon in it, but what happens when the cinnamon is placed next to the c


Exercise #8: "Textures" This exercise is to heighten your awareness of fine detail. Take each and every item of clothing you are wearing right now and describe its texture. What is it like? How is it different from the others? What does it remind you of? brown camisole -- I remember when this shirt used to be soft. I mean, it's still soft, but it has those little bumps on the fabric that are mysteriously formed in the washing / drying machine that make it feel rough in certain places. It's a slinky synthetic material - not nearly as substantial as cotton but not as flimsy as silk - but I feel covered in it, modest. The fabric is stretchy and pliant, fitting snugly against my body but loosely enough so that I don't feel self conscious. turquoise sweater vest -- This is one of my favorite items of clothing. Not only is it one of my favorite colors (turquoise), but it is just so comfortable!! It's a knit fabric with ribbing on the neckline. If I knew any knitt

"Nag, Nag, Nag"

Exercise #7: "Nag, Nag, Nag" Another dialogue exercise. In the airport, standing in line for check-in, she nags him - or he nags her; whichever you prefer. Write the scene using both description and dialogue. What happens when they get to the head of the line? ....."Did you turn off the coffee pot this morning?" Melanie asked, her brow furrowed. ....."Yes," her husband, Eric, said with a roll of his eyes. ....."What? I'm just making sure that we tied all of our loose ends," she said. "I mean, if we left the coffee pot on, we could be short one house and a whole lot of other things in a matter of hours." ....."Right..." he said. The person 2 people in front of them was called up to the desk. Why are these people so damned slow? They had been standing in the line for over an hour, and they seemed to be moving at a glacial pace. So much for arriving early. ....."What about the alarm?" she asked. "Did you se

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffeneger

I've still not finished with the book, but I am so annoyed right now that I felt the strong need to post my thoughts thus far. If you haven't read the book as of yet, stop reading this post right now; there are going to be spoilers running rampant through the paragraphs below. You've been warned... Ms. Niffeneger has lost me... completely. It was an intriguing story up until, oh, I guess 3/4 of the way through. I was interested, and it was a quick, easy read. Unfortunately, however, Niffeneger makes one of her main characters, Claire (the actual time traveler's wife) baby crazy. And when I say baby crazy, I mean that she has the baby madness. She is desperate to have a kid, and I simply cannot connect with that. Maybe I will experience this phenomenon later in life (I'm not planning on it, but being that I don't know my future I can't say that I won't.), but right now I'm almost disgusted by her overwhelming desire to have a baby. It's irrat

"Pjugsarkjan Breakfast"

Exercise #6: "Pjugsarkjan Breakfast" Pjugsarkian is an imaginary language; feel free to make up whatever words and phrases serve your purposes. The exercise is this: a tourist, who speaks only a very few words of Pjugsarkian (and my also mispronounce them) orders breakfast in his (or her) hotel from a waiter (or waitress) who understands and speaks only a tiny bit of English. Write the scene with both description and dialogue. Oh, Lord help me with this one. I beg all of you for mercy, for this will probably be horrendous in the truest sense of the word... I have always believed that, once a person has learned more than 2 languages, it's extremely difficult for them to create a new language spur-of-the-moment like (unless you're Tolkien, that is...), and being that I speak English and French, am conversational with Italian and am in the process of learning German, Russian, etc... Well, not easy. When I was in theatre class in high school, there was an exercise that

"Smells of Things That Don't Smell (Much)"

Exercise #5: "Smells of Things That Don't Smell (Much)" What is the smell of the following: the moon -- dirt ... and cheese (thank you, childhood ideals); so... dirty cheese? sadness -- flowers, particularly ones that are used in funeral arrangements; salt and cedar a child's joy in watching a soap bubble -- soapy, of course, with a hint of strawberries grief -- very similar to sadness, except the aroma is much more pungent... maybe with the bite of iron smell cowardice -- tart and onion-y snow -- cotton candy! velcro -- plastic-y a nasty letter -- spicy, but not the good kind of spice that flavors food well... This is the stuff that makes your eyes water and clears out every single sinus passageway when you take a whiff. silver -- clean and pure, like a metallic version of that "clean linen" smell that they make into candles mystery -- musty, like you've just stepped into an attic that hasn't had a single human visitor in several years; an old, leat

"The Presence of the Past"

Exercise #4: "The Presence of the Past" Within a one-mile radius of where you are right now, what would have been present 100 years ago (1909)? Wow... That's an interesting thought, one of which I feel I don't have any sort of knowledge. For example, I don't know when Nashville was founded (I know, I know... What a sad sack I am.). Sounds like I need to do a bit of research... Nashville was founded as Fort Nashboro in 1779 by James Robertson, John Donelson, and a party of Wataugan Native Americans in honor of the American Revolutionary War hero, Francis Nash. In 1806, Nashville was incorporated into the state as a city, becoming the capital in 1843. Now, I'm pretty sure that most of the houses in my area (near the Fairgrounds) are from the 1920's, so I'm assuming before then, this area wasn't quite developed. Possibly farm lands? I do know that the Parthenon was up by 1909. I'm not sure, to be honest, about anything else. Maybe I'm thin


Exercise #3: "Clutter" Clutter can yell you a lot about character. What exactly is it? And where is it? What is it blocking / obscuring? Describe the clutter of one of the following characters: a bereaved widow who, 20 years after her husband's death, cannot bring herself to go on a date a doctoral student unable to complete his thesis a yoga instructor who is addicted to e-mail a chef who suffers from adult onset diabetes I'm choosing the bereaved widow character. 1, 2, 3, GO! Ethel Johnson was a 70-something widow, but she never let her age stop her. Skydiving, rappelling, mountain climbing, and many other activities dominated her everyday life. She was a thrill-seeker, someone who seems as if she feared nothing, not even death. When asked about her fears, she responded with a simple "nothing," but deep in the recesses of her heart, she knew it wasn't the truth. Her house was generally well-kept, save one space. In the corner of her living room there

"The Last Piece of Pie"

Exercise #2: "The Last Piece of Pie" Write the first paragraph(s) of a story that begins as follows: She would not give him the last piece of pie. .....She would not give him the last piece of pie, and she didn't care how he felt about it. It was her birthday, and she deserved the last piece. ....."Man," he said, eyeing the solitary wedge of pastry, it's fruit-filled goodness spilling out onto the plate. "That was good pie. I could eat about 10,000 pounds of the stuff." ....."I know," she said as sweetly as she could muster. "Grandma makes some amazing food. I guess it's all those years of cooking for her family." ....."It's like she's always said, practice makes perfect. Right?" ....."Yeah." .....She reached for the piece of pie, daring him to cross her. Her eyes quickly darted over to him, and the tension in the room became palpable. She wasn't going to give it up. Who cares if it had 300 c

A Tip From My Sister and Passive Aggressive Grocery Shopping

As you know, I have spent the last few blog entries answering some questions from a zen magazine. Well, those are done, so now I'm forced to find a new topic. But then I thought, well... What interests me? What do I want to write about? And at first, I had no clue. I could go off on a tangent about opera or musical theatre. Maybe I could do another series of blogs focusing on a different set of questions. No. Ick. Boring. So then I talked to my sister, and she had some pretty good advice. She steered me in the direction of writing exercises, of which there are a plethora. After a little bit of researching, I found a website: . C. M. Mayo is an author who, I must admit, I've never read (After finding this site, however, she's next on my list, once I finish reading The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall). She has posted a year's worth of writing exercises -- you know, the ones that take around 5 minutes a day -- and I've decided to venture into the w

Today's Post: Questions 5, & 6!

I decided to nip the rest (i.e. the last 2) of the questions in the bud so that I can move on to another topic. I'm not going to lie; I'm a bit tired of all of these questions that make me feel like I suck as a person. Question #5: Am I as good a person as I want to be? Well, crap, I don't know! I mean, I could be more active at church. I could be nicer to my family. I could visit my family more. I could get angry less. I could... well, you get the point. I'm a flawed individual, but on a real note, show me a person who's not, and I'll show you Jesus H. Christ. So, being that I am of the mindset that requires I try to emulate the life of Jesus, I will never be as good a person as I want to be simply because I am human, and I am utterly and totally sinful. As depressing as that sounds, however, it's actually not. The great thing is that I CAN sin. I don't have to feel completely condemned simply because I lost my temper at my boyfriend the other day and

Question No. 4: What Am I Doing to Help Others?

You know, this answer could go one of 2 ways: I'm this awesome person who constantly thinks of others, or I suck the big one and only think about myself. So I'm not entirely sure how to go about tackling this... My parents brought me up to be very conscientious of the people around me. My boyfriend would disagree with me (He's a little rough around the edges, but that's one of the reasons I love him so much. heh), but I don't see the point of ruffling feathers for no reason. Sure, if there's a reason to stand up and make a point, go for it. But if it, in the end, has no purpose then... why? Back to the topic, though. As I said, I was brought up to be aware of other people and their feelings. That being said, I'd like to think that I do a good job of keeping people happy (I hate to admit it, but I really am a people pleaser, despite the remarks I make about being a ball-buster.). I don't know; it's just not one of those things that I actively think a

Question No. 3: Am I Doing Something That Matters?

Sorry for the delay. Life got a little distracting. hehe I will try my best to complete these questions in the next 4 days. So am I? Am I doing something that matters? I don't know how to answer this question. I've always been of the belief that what matters can only be viewed in hindsight. I mean, we have no control over how our actions affect others. For example, I'm walking down the street. This guy is walking the opposite way, approaching me. I don't know this, but he's on his way home to commit suicide (Sure, that's a morbid approach, but bear with me.). As he's passing me, I smile at him. For some reason, that smile affects him, and he chooses not to kill himself. Now, I know that example is a bit... I can't think of the word. Glib, maybe? Either way, I know. But a simple action can change something huge. So right now, I don't know. I don't know if I'm doing something that matters. It's possible. I'm doing my best to be active

Question #2: Am I pursuing my DREAM, or is FEAR stopping me?

Now, this is a good question... One which I am actually kind of afraid not only to ponder but to answer. But I said I was going to do these questions, and, as I am a lady of my word, I will get through them all. At one point in time, my dream was to perform on the hallowed stages of Broadway, to dance my way across the television screen via the Tonys... And to be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure that's not still my dream. Over the past few months the thought of "Well, Kristin Chenoweth did it..." has entered my mind more times than I feel it should have. I believed that part of my life to be over. Well, not over, but... I don't know. in remission? I have long since realized that my part in the world of musical theatre is slim to none, and it's not the road I need to be taking. Opera is MUCH more fitting for me. My personality, my performance style, etc... All of those things point me straight down the opera road. But am I throwing in the towel too soo

6 Questions to Ask Yourself : Question 1

So I was doing a little web browsing and came upon this website: The article, as can be inferred, is called "6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life." Now, I'm not really much for zen thought, but I figured I'd give this a go. The plan is to write 6 entries, each one focusing on a question. On to business... Question 1: Who do I love, and what am I doing about it? Let's tackle the 1st part... Who do I love? This seems to be rather vague, but I guess that's the point: to make you really think. Who do I love...? Well, my family, of course. We all have our problems, our faults, but, in the end, it's our family that is always there for us, no matter what, no questions asked. I also love my boyfriend. :) I love my Kitty Kitty, Lily, and Charlamagne (cats) and Moo Moo / Maggie and Zola (dogs). I love my friends as well, but there are too many of them