Monday, September 17, 2012

Flyspecks and Pygmies

“They have their ghastly origins in the rank miasma of the tarn.” –Unknown. Creepy, isn’t it? I can hear witches chanting and see a ghost-like being holding a skull dripping with blood.

The next time you have nothing prepared for your critique meeting, (it happens to all of us at times) cancel your thoughts about the poem you planned to perfect or chapter you wanted to finish. If you’re under pressure from outside sources, take a break from serious writing. Think fun instead. For example, play Flyspecks.

A Creative Writing Activity:

Flyspecks, Briefs, Minis, Midges, Pygmies, or whatever you want to name yours, are prompts in a file or notebook you’ve set up. When squeezed for writing time, select three or less and write no more than 150 words inspired by the prompt. Have fun devising your own prompts. But, just in case you need something quick today, here are ideas to start with.

  • List words you've met in reading, but rarely use yourself. Pick one. Check the definition if you need to. Use it in a sentence or short paragraph. Remember this is a creative writing activity, not middle school vocabulary homework. Don’t try to identify the meaning of the word as you write. Simply use it.
  • Here are words to consider if you haven’t started your own list yet. Do you recognize the words miasma and tarn? The following words are listed in one of the “Cat in the Corner” blogs: burnishing, cantilevered, duvet, encomium, harridan, incipient, irascible, maladroit, mullion, oriel, pneumatic, proffer, rheumy, simper, unguent.
  • Write a brief character sketch about a person who simpers or is irascible.
  • Oscar married a harridan. Why? 
  • Mr. Blurry can’t bring himself to kill a furry little mouse. Write a 4-line verse about it.
  • Write a few lines about a story, TV show or movie you saw lately.
  • Describe a facial expression.
  • Disagree with something you read or heard recently.
  • What's a nob?
  • Disagree using humor or sarcasm. Or make a shocking statement cushioned with humor. For example, do you wonder if someone eats their children?
  • Describe a place—anything from a scenic wonder to a hoarder’s garage.
  • Is anything growing in your refrigerator?
  • Pretend you're learning English as a foreign language. Mention something that seems completely nonsensical to you.
  • What about your pet (and that could be your significant other) makes you smile, melts your heart, or invites your fury?
You have the idea, right? A good reason to commit to writing something every week: like veggies, creativity is healthful. (See my blog, Creative Thinking: Eight Great Benefits.) What that means to you is you can give yourself permission to prioritize your writing activities, even if it's a hobby. It's good for you. So go ahead and have fun.

(c) 2012, Bernice Simpson

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