Saturday, September 9, 2017

What is your method, big or small?

As a writer, do you think small? 
This is Howie when he was a puppy.

                                                                   Or do you think big?
Howie is a full grown Golden Doodle boy. I say boy, because he still wants to hug Kyle who has to kneel down for a loving embrace. Howie has not outgrown his puppy personality, and possibly never will. He is sweet and playful, and he thinks he's a lap dog. He's so big he has his own large otttoman to snooze on. He loves going to the dog park and gnawing on his hard rubber toys.

When you tackle writing, do you think small or go big? I'm reading What Comes Next and How to Like It, A Memoir by Abigail Thomas, a writer and writing instructor.

Every writer has their moments of self doubt. Here's what happened to her. Sound familiar?

I had written poems in the seventies, but the poetry dried up. When I tried to write words that went all the way across the page I got discouraged; "Who do you think you are?" I'd mutter, balling up the paper and tossing it into a wastebasket ~ Abigail Thomas.

She gave her students an assignment. They were instructed to select a ten year period of their lives, and write two pages about that time using only three words sentences.

Think of the tight writing, the poetry that might evolve, and the possibilities for future stories. She says you either run away from the truth or toward it. I imagine this exercise can produce outstanding writing.

You do not have to stretch words all the way across the page, no paragraphs or formatting. Just three words at a time. Less intimidating. Abbreviated revelations. My own examples.

I loved motherhood. Kids my happiness.
Rotten stinking marriage. Tossed the garbage.
My great escape. Could breathe again.

Nana at 40. Ocean-deep baby love.
Watched friend die.  I cried ugly.
Met soul mate. Delighted each day.
Never been happier.

Me a writer? Didn't take classes. Took several chances.
Success with anthologies. Credits piled up.
Me a presenter? Who you kidding?
Speaking gigs everywhere.

See how easy? Will you give it a try, maybe a leave a sentence, or two or three?


Sioux Roslawski said...

My teen years:

Wore no make-up. (It's hyphenated, so counts as one word ;)
Lived in moccasins.
Had wet feet.
Played no games.
Read too much.
Was a *itch.

Pat Wahler said...

Sioux, you gave me a giggle.


Val said...

Not easy for me! I am a master stretcher of words across the page. This makes me feel like my head is in a vise! But I'll give it a try.

Second teaching job.
Tiny Sheldon, MO.
Railroad hotel apartment.
Cheeto baited mousetrap.
Postmaster read mail.
Walked to school.
Loved the students.
$8,500 per year.
Found new employment.

Susan Sundwall said...

This is hard.
Let me think.
Back to you.
Sooner or later.

Linda O'Connell said...

Each of you made me laugh!

Susan said...

Okay, Linda. Here goes:

Teenage Years

Hate stupid dances.
Love school theater.
Good being home.
Want to escape.
Not enough money.
Fun with friends.
School is okay.
Writing class rocks.


Happy Being Mom.
Exhaustion never leaves.
Husband always working.
Love baking cookies.
Days very filled.
Thinking about future.
Living in the now.


Time races by.
Grandkids bring joy.
Sleeping feels great.
Busyness still rules.
Continue to cook.
Writing is important.
Life is great.

Linda O'Connell said...

Busyness and exhaustion, our common thread. Thanks for participating. This exercise was very revealing.

UplayOnline said...

Played no games.