Monday, October 19, 2009

Free Writing Ideas

Write about five different things, one for each sense - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - that you have experienced in the previous 24 hours.

We don’t have to search far for material to write about – it’s constantly around us, we just have to notice it, and remember to make a record of it.

Paint the picture/moment/event in words - really see (re-experience) all the details.

Give yourself 10 to 20 mins for each one. Start writing and make yourself continue until your chosen time is up.

You could do one a day for the next five days. Don't worry about reading back over them. Let them sit in your notebook for a while.

And for a little inspiration, here are some delicious excerpts from Charles Simic's notebook:

Seeing is determined not by the eye but by the clarity of my consciousness. Most of the time the eyes see nothing.

My soul is constituted of thousands of images I cannot erase. Everything I remember vividly from a fly on a wall in Belgrade to some street in San Francisco early one morning. I'm a grainy old, often silent, often flickering film.

Two young birch trees wrestling in the wind. The crow in the snow refereeing.

The day I went to make funeral arrangements for my father-in-law, I caught a glimpse of the mortician's wife nursing the mortician's new daughter. Her breasts were swollen huge with milk.

The restaurant is Greek. The waiter's name is Socrates, so Plato must be in the kitchen, and Aristotle is the fellow studying a racing form at the cash register. Today's special, grilled calamari with fresh parsley, garlic, and olive oil.

From The Poet's Notebook, Excerpts From The Notebooks Of 26 American Poets, WW Norton New York 1995.

Write well.


Lynne Rees said...

hot milky coffee the colour of pale caramel sweetened with two rough lumps of raw cane sugar the meniscus of froth gently bumping the rim of the china mug steam rising into the fresh morning air and this day opening out ahead of me

Lynne Rees said...

The cat jumps off the bed in the middle of the night and when I turn over I find the heat she has left there, through the quilted throw, through the feather duvet, the cotton sheet, a circle of warmth under my feet before I fall back to sleep.

Lynne Rees said...

Soft rain, all day, all night, and all day today, the constant noise of it that has now become less a noise and more an accompaniment, like your shadow in the sun, or your breathing, when you take time to notice it, when the air you pull down to your lungs and slowly expel seems like a small miracle, like this rain that darkens the tilled earth where we have sown our first lawn, and wait.

Mary Rose said...

Five Senses.

Sight: Leaves, leaves, Autumn painted
covering yesterday’s sweeping
the length of our long path.

Sound: Today, starting afresh, hearing the soft
rustling of leaves as I sweep again
the daily routine repeated every Autumn.

Touch: Frozen fingers I must thaw
before touch returns and I feel
the keyboard ready to start my bidding once more.

Taste: Breakfast and the taste of my daily overripe
banana as I savour my favourite start to each day.

Smell: A memory of our last big holiday together,
the smell of the sea and of silence as we step together
over sleepy iguanas, lazing, heedless of our presence,
the smell of heat and happiness on the Galapagos remain with me.

martin cordrey said...


Cold bites my fingers as I clutch the door handle; inside the musty dampness of socks and shoes left on the floor overnight, on the seat a sherbet sweet from one of yesterday’s four balls - slipping it into my mouth brings back memories a of chainsaw buzzing in a distant woodland, and the site of the par five fairway decimated by rampant crows searching for autumn bugs.

Lynne Rees said...

Hi Mary Rose

I love the smell of 'silence' and the smell of 'happiness'. The abstractions work well here because they're surrounded by so much concrete detail.

Hi Martin - this is really vibrant. I can really 'experience' the senses in this piece.

Anonymous said...

Still sleeping, she doesn't see the pheasants in the nearby field, the badger hurled above the ditch, the sudden flock of doves racing by the windscreen. She turns and murmers, oblivious. Soon we will be home

Anonymous said...

The room is small, cramped even and stuffy. There are tissues littering the worn cork floor; a basket heaped with dirty clothes sits in the corner. His streaming cold has evolved into a cough and his energy levels are low. He stretches back on his bed and I notice the way his hip bone protrudes. His face, once round has now a thin angular look to it, There are voices outside the door.

Lynne Rees said...

I like both 'Anonymous' posts. The first one feels quite complete in its self, a very compressed story with its emotional tone set by the imagery. I suppose it's the last line that gives it a sense of closure for me, makes it feel that it doesn't need any more added.

The second one is equally engaging in its detail but the development of character, and implied relationship with the narrator, makes me want more. Maybe not a lot more though.

Thanks for posting.