Revising the Past
This is the twenty-second installment of The Curious Creative, weekly 10-minute writing exercises for busy individuals interested in exploring their creativity. For the complete rationale, click here.
I recently wrote a choose-your-own-adventure poem, combining a classic genre from my childhood with the sparse, metaphorical language of poetry. It was a blast to write! It felt freeing to constantly be thinking about the multiple directions a story could go. For this week’s exercise, we’ll take inspiration from this genre, but instead of thinking up a brand new story, which is an overwhelming task for someone with only 10 minutes to spare, we’ll revise a moment from the past.
- Think of a memorable personal event. Free write about it for five minutes.
- Next, make a list of specific markers of the place where it occurred (i.e., names of streets/shops/restaurants, details about the weather, the quality of light, what was hanging in shop windows, etc.).
- Circle five salient words from your list.
- For each of these words, write an antonym. Think of the absolute possible opposite of each one. For example, if you circled “Starbucks,” write “a weathered coffee thermos left on an abandoned table and chair below the highway overpass.”
- Now, rewrite the story incorporating these five new markers of place. Allow the new words’ connotations to carry the event in new directions.
How did you do? Did you feel a lighthearted surrender as you released control of the memory? Did the exercise feel fun and playful?
To encourage each other and grow a community of Curious Creatives, sign in from a google account so you can share your creation in the comment boxes below. Also, if you subscribe to this blog (submit your email address in the "Follow this Site by Email" box to the right), you will get an email update whenever a new exercise is added. Thanks for playing!