Monday, November 23, 2009


I have decided that if I lived in a cooler town, I would hang out in funky coffee shops and drink loads of chai. Alas, I live in a place where far too many people think those dress-up geese on the front porch are high art. Ah well.

The poetry reading this weekend was amazing! It was a joy to read with such a terrific group of people. Lovely. My husband took some photos, which made me realize I look rather pained and distressed when I read my poems. Weird.


I've been thinking about writing fiction, which seems overly ambitious, but I'm going to do it anyway. At this point, I've begun a new fiction journal/diary. I'm starting with character development. Creating fictional people is rather fun. I have no idea where it's going to lead. My attention span seems much better suited for poetry, most days.

Writing exercise: 5 Random Things

In the interests of fleshing out the characters, I'm trying to write a list of 5 random things about each one on an index card. Each random characteristic should--I think--be something more than 'basic' (i.e. I don't want to list height and weight, or anything like that). I'll start with myself because I am as solipsistic as anyone else and because it's an easy way to warm up. Here goes:

Five Random Things About Moi

1.) I never ask people the question "What do you do?" (as in "for a living.") I dislike using occupation to define who people are. No one can be defined so simply as "accountant" or "baker." It's not that these things aren't relevant; I just think the question is somewhat rude because it indicates I'm trying to pigeonhole the person in some way. I realize this is perhaps the most basic question on earth when it comes to small talk (in America, anyway), so I am probably made of fail when it comes to meeting people and socializing with casual acquaintances and whatnot.

2.) I have recently become obsessed with food in its simplest unadulterated state. Really, I just want to eat things like apples and baked potatoes and homemade bread. I don't like pre-packaged mixes, pre-sliced fruits, pre-washed bags of salad (which always smell like decay to me, yuk.) I'm sure my fear of both pre-cut and chemically preserved foods borders on OCD. So, what am I going to do with that damn box of Rice-A-Roni in my pantry?

3.) I am not particularly religious, but I am open to the possibility that science cannot necessarily explain everything. On the other hand, I think it's also possible that those things which appear to exist beyond science (like a ghost or a near-death experience for example) could very well have a scientific explanation that we're simply not capable of understanding. This may seem paradoxical, but it's not. At least, I don't think so.

4.) There is at least one shelf full of books in every room of my house, except the bathrooms (soggy books=bad). This includes the kitchen and dining room. I'm sure this has much to do with the fact that I own far too many books (if such a thing is possible!) I also like the basic principle of feng shui that visible books in a room increase insight. Why not? Who couldn't use a little more intellectual energy?

5.) I cannot stand the idea of having a television in my bedroom. I need it to be a sanctuary for sleep, a place far removed from the world of sitcoms, reality tv, or the nightly news.

The point of this exercise is to bring characters alive by explaining what they do or believe, rather than trying to create them as 5'5" blonde-haired former strippers or 6 foot tall dog groomers or whatever. While it's easy to do this for oneself, I think it's much more difficult (although absolutely necessary) when it comes to creating believable fictional characters. If they don't seem real (or like they could be real), then they become wooden and flat and boring, and nobody wants to read about them, right?

No comments: