I’m taking a online writing course at Berkleemusic.com called ‘Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice’. The class is a first-of-its-kind course developed by Pat Pattison, codeveloped and taught by Caroline Harvey.
Five days a week, we are given three timed writing exercises (5 minutes, 10 minutes, 90 seconds), each with its own theme and requirements. These exercises are called ‘object writing’, similar to the types of exercises that Natalie Goldberg writes about in ‘Writing Down the Bones’, because you pick something, anything, and write about it.
Your goal is to write and write every day. The more you do it, the better and easier it gets. Three weeks into the course, I’m gaining confidence. The point is not to have a polished writing, but just to write and write from the senses, as much as possible.
Today’s writing goals: Include sense-bound writing (sight, sound, touch, taste, feel, body (how it feels inside), and kinesthetic (motion, dizziness, etc); include past, present, & future tense; from the point of view (POV) of direct address (You see a ship, etc.)
Object Writing: First Kiss (5 minutes)
So your first kiss was in the basement of a Allston, MA house who residents were Alpha Kappa members, throwing a party for their Providence, RI members? The smell of beer and vomit mingled like a wasted college-kid’s parfum & a sour smell forced your mouth downward in displeasure. Your head was spinning, music blaring in your ears, your heart beating in your chest. Light is on the lowest setting that your eyes can make out. What do you see? Your man grabs you, throws you up against the chimney, grinds himself into you. You are hot sweaty and a thought threw itself in your face like a bucket of cold water. Barely getting your mouth away in time, you fly upstairs, claiming illness. Will you burst through the front door, take in a huge, gasping gulp of air as if for the first time? How will you walk home? By yourself? Take a taxi. Imagine that you are flying through the air on a broom, eyes closed, flying straight into bed. Safe. Alone. Goodnight.
Object Writing: Spring Break (10 minutes)
Your plan for spring break was to go to the beach, maybe lay on your towel, smooth in coconut 4SPF suntan lotion on your solo bikini-clad body, and read the trashy vampire novel series ‘Twilight’ before the week was out. But that wasn’t how things went, did they? Instead of being by yourself, you were followed by a small group of strange men. They didn’t come too close to you, did they? No. Well, thank goodness. I know you like to pretend there is no danger at the beach but I tell you – there is! Anyway, I am glad they left you alone after you gave them one good, hard stare right back at them, the best you could manage, to let them know that you knew they were there. The backed away, the trio, shoulders huddled together, hands in front of their faces, whispering, all the while looking at you for as long as they could while trying to walk in the order direction. I know you tried not to laugh at how quickly their interest turned to catcalls and rude hand gestures. After that, you were sitting in the sun, soaking it in, like a sponge that grew for that one purpose. Your skin looks radiant and glowing. I see sand in your hair and a spot on your circus T-shirt that says, “Ice cream was here.” Now, after a shower, you will sit on your deck as the evening star comes out to play, a cool breeze blowing behind your ears and tickling them with hair wisps. The moon will reflect in your lime and tonic soda. The buzzing of crickets will ring in your ears. If you’re lucky, maybe even the peepers will come out. The smell of slightly wet night air will cool your nostrils, open them up to the aromas of evening: charcoal briquettes burning in the chiminea on your red slate patio, the scent of cooling grass still wet from a late evening watering, inhale the beauty of the outdoors for it will be yours if …. What? You have to go, you say? I’m sorry to hear it. When can we meet again? When the half-moon rises in the sky? Why, yes, that’s Saturday night. You’re busy? Washing your hair? Oh. Well, I. Oh. Well, should you decide that walking along Walden Pond’s perimeter, adequately sprayed with anti-mosquito spray, tickles your fancy, then.. Oh. Well, here’s my … No? Well, in that case, let me seduce you with this: cherry kisses, lime caresses, hazelnut songs of love. We will be each other’s desserts. Yumm….
Object Writing: Midnight (90 sec)
Blue black darkness spreads over your face, my love. The moon reflected its whiteness back into your eyes, glowing white orbs reminded me of eggs. The foul stench of eggs consumes you and you can think of nothing else, getting dizzy now. You blink and see the edge of your smile taunting us, like children taunting each other with names on a playground. I feel the cold. Wht