In-Class Writing Exercise Result

The writing class I took last year didn’t include writing exercises, which was fine with me. The writing class I’m taking this year, however, includes a few minutes of free writing every class, with three objects as our prompts. We sometimes read the results aloud, sometimes not, but it’s a nice way to keep our creative juices flowing, as they say. This is the paragraph that resulted from the seven-minute exercise on September 12:

“I need another coffee mug,” she said as she looked out the window, clutching the single one she already had. It was full of tea, not coffee, but she still called it a coffee mug. It had a corny photograph of NYC plastered over it and there was a chipped edge which she was always careful to hold on the other side, away from, ever since that time when she scratched her lip.
It had bled then, and she remembered the coppery taste of her own blood. “How weird, she said, “to remember blood while I’m drinking tea in my kitchen.”
There was no one there to hear her. She did this often – speaking to herself, that is – and she liked it. She’d been living alone for seven years (and wondered if that meant that good luck was coming her way) and she liked the way her voice reverberated in the empty apartment.
The wind blew outside and the tree that had its leaves mashed against the kitchen window swayed and creaked. It was a lonely tree, a tree that made moaning noises on cold nights.
The kitchen was her favorite room in the small apartment. It was the best place to congregate with friends (there were chairs for everyone there, good and drink as well) as well as a cozy place to sit with a coffee mug full of tea and think.
She wondered if it was time to get a cat. After all, living alone for seven years, the apartment still hadn’t seen the footprint of a man who was a lover. When she did have sex, it was always at their places. Would it be okay to leave a cat alone in the apartment overnight? Yes, of course, cats were independent, their own people with needs and wants.
“But am I read to be a crazy cat lady yet?” she thought aloud again. The words crazy and cat sounded nice together and she said them a few more times, walking in a circle around the table over and over again.

This is not my finest piece of writing, but I’m sharing it anyway, because I don’t usually post things that I haven’t read over and edited a couple times in the course of one sitting. This was entirely free-written, that is without taking the pen away from the page, without pausing to fix grammar or make things clear. It’s a good exercise that forces you not to over-think what you’re writing, which is something many of us tend to do.

Objects’ Spirit

I often wonder whether or not inanimate objects have spirits of their own. Oh, I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but stay with me for a moment.

Haven’t you ever felt close to something that was just… well, a thing? A favorite mug, perhaps, or a painting that moved you. Maybe a childhood toy or stuffed-animal or a piece of jewelry or even the first car that you called your own. Of course, stuff is just stuff. We all know this. There’s no argument that if we had to choose between saving our friends and family from a fire or saving our things, we would choose the people in our lives over the mere objects that we’ve accumulated.

And yet, I always feel that the mere act of possessing something and appreciating it instills a kind of life in it. I find myself talking to my computer at times – sometimes aloud, sometimes only in my head. I know that I could never get rid of Beary-Bear or Twinkle, my favorite teddy-bears. I know that the bowl in which I pour my Quaker Squares in the morning seems to greet me cheerfully in the mornings when I dip my spoon into it.

What if objects actually did have some sort of life or spirit to them? What if they whispered amongst themselves when we went to sleep, chatting about how we used them during the day; complaining when we were unkind or rough or when they were ignored. What if they appreciated our attention or loathed it? What if our refrigerators were in love with our stoves?

Well, maybe they do have a life of their own. Maybe they do communicate. It would sure explain how when one appliance breaks, everything else seems to follow it in breaking. It would explain why some objects charm us and make us love them while some make us put them way back in the shelf or never buy them in the first place. It would explain that bizarre feeling when we get up to use the toilet at four in the morning and feel as if someone’s just stopped talking when we woke up.

Ah, the things one thinks about at midnight…