I was never a big fan of creative writing exercises. Maybe it was because whenever took part in them at school I always felt as though the teacher wasn’t quite understanding what I was trying to say. Maybe little arrogant part of me thought I was a good enough writer that I didn’t need to practice. I think a big part of it was the idea that such exercises are somehow overly indulgent. Playing with words just for the sake of it.
But, since I’ve been part of my fabulous writers’ group, Sapphist Writers, I’ve changed my mind. Funnily enough, every time anyone suggests an exercise, my brain freezes and I think “I can’t do that!” If they told me to write a novel over the space of the next month, I could. But experiment with words in a limited amount of time? Create something distilled, something with stands alone, something which follows the rules of the exercise? That scares me.
Which is why I want to share the results of last night’s exercise here. Not that I think my piece of writing is especially wonderful. But because it still amazes me, and makes me feel grateful that I can produce such a piece. That I had more than a blank piece of paper at the end of the 15 minutes we gave ourselves. And because it was such a simple exercise too, to produce what were deeply felt emotions. Once more, I am indebted to Nicki for suggesting the exercise–thank you! 😀
The exercise: If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be? In 15 minutes, write about the piece of furniture you are and the way you feel.
I am a desk, of indefinable age. In some lights, I look antique, experienced, as though many have rested weary elbows and pondered here. But look again, and my lines are strikingly modern and, despite the marks on my scratched surface, you will see I am, in fact, quite youthful. With a kindly hand to polish me, I could be like new again. But no one thinks to polish me.
I am strong, but not showy. I don’t have a place for everything, like some of my kind. My drawers can hide secrets, but you cannot always lock them. Sometimes the lock jams and you can’t open them again.
I support people. Paper and pen, laptop, wax crayon and colouring book; I am here, holding firm, for them.
I’ve been sat on, even stood on once to paint the ceiling. I still have the splatter marks to show for that. I’ve had weary heads on folded arms, sleeping peacefully. I’ve been talked across, hidden under. Always I’m here, sturdy, strong, unnoticed. I listen and support and help as much as I can.
But sometimes I wonder. What if I wanted to be noticed? Silent and supportive no longer. What would they do to find my surface skewed, or one of my legs buckled? If my tired wood began to creak and groan and they were forced to hear me?
I worry, for what would they do without me? How would they write cheques and essays, surf the internet, do homework, write letters, draw their pictures? If I started to make a noise, or my weary slanting made their writing irregular. I am useful and necessary and proud of what they achieve because of me. I don’t want to be cast aside as firewood.
But still, I am scarred, paint splattered, and tired. I fear, before long, something will break. And they will hear me.
Have a go at the exercise yourself. Tell me what you think of mine. 😀