Friday, March 10, 2017

Beginning ~ with a single day

"This book was written in a single day.  A single 24-hour period, with no advance notice."
Those words were written by Po Bronson, a member of the writers' group who put this book together.  The beginning of the actual "content" of the book, however, begins with something even stranger:
"What can happen in a second"  (No, there's no period at the end of that fragment.)
I'm a writer, and books like this intrigue me.  Here's the book information so you can begin to make sense of what I'm saying.
642 Things To Write About ~ by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, 2011
This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time.  From crafting your own obituary to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write.  Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe.
Here's one of the 642 prompts.  I'll even write about the subject, inviting you to leave something similar in the comments.
"Five things you see out the nearest window."
I can think of two ways to respond.  Here are some of the activities I notice:
1.  I see a mother skipping down the sidewalk with her young child.
2.  I see a rabbit hop across the driveway of the preschool across the street.
3.  I see a bird resting on a telephone wire watching the same scene I'm watching.
4.  I see someone trying to parallel park on the street, leaving the car with one wheel on the grass.
5.  I see a man coming from the other direction, walking his frisky little dog.
Another response is to describe the scenery:
1.  I see other apartment buildings, but none as tall as my 10-story building.
2.  I see my car in the parking lot below my sixth floor window.
3.  I see a preschool, with its parking lot in front and its playground behind a tall fence out back.
4.  I see Walgreens on the corner, with its parking lot half full of cars.
5.  I see trees beginning to bud too early because it's supposed to snow tomorrow.
I could write a story, which is the whole point of this exercise, I presume.  I could have the mother and child encounter the man with his little dog.  Or have the person parking stumble upon leaving the car, maybe dropping an armful of papers (nope, that's isn't what I saw).  I could imagine the child noticing the bird or the bunny rabbit.  Or I could develop a whole plot, with people coming and going from the apartments I see, interacting with each other.

What do you see out a window?

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.


Bonnie Jacobs said...

After posting the beginning(s) of this 2011 book, I noticed the fourth of four prompts on the first page (the first was "What can happen in a second"):

"Write Facebook status updates for the year 2017."

What a coincidence that I'm finally writing about the book in 2017. I've had the book for awhile, but did NOT buy it in 2011. I guess 2017 would seem like years into the future, if I had pondered it six years ago. Let's see, what was I doing in 2011? I lived in St. Elmo, my ex-husband died, and four days later someone broke into my home while I was asleep and stole my computer. Since then, I lived in Hixson for three years before moving to St. Louis. Wow, how different my "status updates" would be, then and now.

Helen's Book Blog said...

It is amazing how things change! In 2011 I was a librarian (I have changed jobs twice since then), new-ish to book blogging, and my daughter was only 5th grade. Wow. I like the idea of this book; it would be a great one to have in an English class for bell-ringer activities to start class.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Now for the "honesty" about what I posted. Those things I claimed to "see" outside one of my windows? Yeah, I've seen each of them, but not on the day I wrote the article. If you look carefully, you'll see I posted it at 10:30pm. Dark, that's what it was. I looked out and saw darkness and lights on in a few homes out in that direction. What fun is that to write about? So I thought of things I had *PREVIOUSLY* seen when I looked out in that direction.

A prompt is just that. It prompts me to come up with ideas to write about, and I did. I just failed to tell you I was seeing it in my mind's eye.