I did a writing exercise last year that I thought was rather interesting. Despite being hemmed in by the constraints of the exercise, it took my mind in several different directions, and I ended up with a free write that was remarkably different than my normal drivel.
I have done several since then, but not lately, my writing taking a back seat to my child. I thought I might share the exercise, and my first resulting free-write with you, to perhaps fuel your creative minds.
This was originally a “meme”, and through a blogging colleague’s suggestion, I turned it around into a writing exercise. Here is the original idea:
Wikipedia Rock Star
1. Go to the Wikipedia home page and click the random article link. That is your band’s name.
2. Click random article again; that is your album name.
3. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.
…And I turned it into this:
Wikipedia Writing Exercise
Take each of the 15 track names, and work them into a non-timed free-write. Once you have used all 15, stop writing, or wrap the last sentence.
Here are the fifteen words I found, and the resulting free-write:
East Asian Death Cap, Alice Brown, Three Stars will Shine for Dr. Kildare, Anchorage, NZR Ed Class, PHD Mountain Software, Akadimia Platonos, Larisa Ilchenko, Chāquán, Carmelite Daughters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Commune, PSMA3, Vallgorguina, Australiaglish, Specularia speculum
Alice Brown checked her watch. It was only a few hours to go and she would be flying her way towards Vallgorguina, where the air would be sweet, the sun strong, and all thoughts of Dr. Kildare far from her mind. As she thought of him, yet again, for the third time in the seeming space of a moment, her heartbreak bubbled to the surface and she almost cried.
Her mind echoed “Larisa” almost immediately and her anger replaced the heartbreak, stopping the tears. Larisa had taken him from her. Larisa was the reason she was here now.
She wanted to spike that perfect little bitches coffee with East Asian Death Cap. She had read something about all the horrific things it did to people in her PSMA3 lecture, when she was supposed to be concentrating. Morbid as it was, her laptop and wireless connection had won out. Besides, it was hard to understand that professor, his accent was so thick and made her scream. Protein nucleotides… ugh.
An ad for Chāquán acrobats caught her eye as she walked past a kiosk. “Come to Australia” it said “See the famous Hin brothers in…” She stopped reading and moved on.
A random memory of her doctor’s Australiaglish accent floated through her mind suddenly. She remembered him taking her through the botany greenhouse at the University, lilting off all the latin names of the plants, just to get her interested in him, she supposed, wooing her with words. It was intoxicating, the rythmn of his voice, walking beside him with their hands brushing, feeling as if they were alone in the world, plants surrounding them, like some tropical jungle commune they started just for them.
He had stopped beside some nondescript plant and whispered “Specularia speculum” into her ear. She remembered not knowing what that was, and as he reached out and touched her cheek. “Venus Looking Glass” he said again, the lilt now husky in his voice, and picked a blossom for her to wear in her hair.
She now grew the stuff in every windowsill in her apartment. Stupid girl.
She shook her head away from the memory, now sad rather than happy, and idly wondered if she should make a sojourn during her trip to Akadimia Platonos. She could do with some authentic Greek food. An exchange student she had chummed with the previous year had come from there, he would know the best places to go.
He had told her to stay away from Kildare. She was too in love to take heed of any advice, least of all his, knowing he had a crush on her anyways.
He might like a visit, maybe, if she had time. She mused on that as she found a seat and settled at her gate to wait for the boarding call.
She watched the people around her with mild disinterest. A man with a laptop bag sporting a bright red logo for PHD Mountain Software wandered past, peering anxiously at his boarding pass, looking around him for gate numbers. She wondered where he was from, and noticed he was carrying a thick coat, and protruding out of the top of his bag was the pom-pom of a toque, bright red as well. She looked down the row of gates, and made herself a bet that he was going to Anchorage.
She won her bed handily as he raced for the gate, once he found it, pom-pom flopping as he strode out.
Again, the stab of recognition that she and her doctor used to people-watch and bet on their habits ripped through her heart. She wondered if Larisa had as fun a sense of humour. Probably not, she was very proper and graceful all the time. It made Alice think she was uptight. Or would like to think so.
Now and again she would tell herself that she did the right thing by leaving, give her some space from him, move on and let her heart heal. She wondered in the same breath if she was fooling herself, really, since everything reminded her of him, and the time they shared.
All at once it came crashing down and she buried her face in her hands. She remembered the long candle-light dinners, the walks on campus sneaking kisses in alcoves, the time they paid to ride in an NZR Ed class train to the country and made love all night on the dock of a cottage, moonlight bathing his perfectly bronzed skin…
She let out a tiny sob, not wanting to attract attention to herself. Not that most people in an airport took time to notice others, absorbed in their own itinerary. Who would care anyways? It was her own stupid fault she was here, her own idiocy that made her fall for him.
A tap on her shoulder made her look up, and as she sniffed and blinked, a woman in a white robe handed her a card, a small sympathetic smile on her face.
“Thank you” She squeaked out, and the woman moved off. Alice looked down at the card numbly, more curious of what it was rather than importance of knowing.
“Carmelite Daughters of the Divine Heart of Jesus” She read, mumbling the words out loud. She joked with herself that it would have been nice if it was a coupon for a free coffee. The sisters, it seemed, were giving these cards out to everyone, and a large amount of them littered empty seats along the gate-rows.
As if a sisterhood cult could help her now. “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” she thought, and snorted at her own poor joke. Broken from her pity party, she set the card down, straightened in her seat, pulled her hair out of her face, and resumed waiting for her plane.
Perhaps it would be good to get away.