Posts Tagged ‘getting fresh ideas for stories’

Everyday Objects as Lenses of Creativity

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Did you ever think that the objects all around you could spark your imagination?

Too often, we take for granted the ordinary world and the mundane objects that compose it. So accustomed to them do we become, in fact, that we just about cease to see them! Our eye passes over millions of objects a day but, unless we have a real need, our conscious mind doesn’t notice. Selective perception – or filtering — they call it in psychology. To be a writer, however, we need to broaden our perception, to learn to notice the details. It’s time to wake up; to begin to notice, once again, the objects all around us and what they all mean.  So let’s start simple in this exercise and work up from there.

This writing exercise can be done in five minutes or fifty, depending on how involved you get. You’ll need a computer, or pen and paper for writing, and any object from your home.

Now, sit down with the object in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and hold the object in your hand. If it’s too large to hold, place it before you on a table. Run your fingers over the surface, feeling the texture, temperature… Does it reflect light, absorb heat; have a smell? Close your eyes and let your mind wander. What does the smell, the sound — the feel of it — remind you of? Does it trigger a memory; ignite a thought? Write it down NOW.

EXAMPLE: I’m holding the fine ceramic tea cup, with red roses on the side. The edge is gilded in gold. I imagine it used to have a saucer too, but it got broken somewhere along the line… My mind wanders into a story about an old grandmother who used the cup every afternoon. Grandma would sit in her rocker in the sunny place by the window, looking out at her roses which surrounded the house with glorious fragrance all summer long. It was from this cozy spot that grand-mama dispensed wisdom to all would listen. I used to go every Wednesday and visit, bringing her groceries and mail on my way. As we sat and had tea and cookies (I had milk), she shared with me the stories of her childhood, the depression…how her father would work for a dollar a day, and how excited she and her siblings would get when he came home with a quart of milk and potatoes to eat. Grandma had lived through a lot, and she knew a lot too. A consummate reader, grandma always…

See? That only took me a minute and I’m off and running with a potential story. And so it goes…

Any old object can be an inspiration. Do you have a spatula? How about how you got spanked by grandpa when you were just wee lad? Got a painting? How about the starving artist struggling to make it in the poor village in Mexico? Got a mp3 player? How about a story of a runaway teenager, her only possession the mp3 player her mom got her for Christmas last year? See what I mean. Now, you go and try it.  :-)

Copyright 2008 Ashandra-Aah

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