The view from my window is in shades of white and brown today. White, newly fallen snow seen through the brown branches of the columnar maples that mark the edge of our yard. This duochromatic (is that a word?) view is surprisingly restful this morning. I thrive on bright colours, but today it’s okay to just enjoy my white and brown world.
Earlier, I spent an hour plowing through files of teaching material that I’m culling for my next writing project–lots of white paper in brown file folders. Clearly my theme for my morning. Light and dark will be the theme for tomorrow, too, as we wait for several groundhogs in Canada and the US to tell us, by the lack–or not–of their shadow, how much winter we have left. Wiarton Willie is the prognosticator that lives closest to us. The town of Wiarton has built an entire festival around this famous albino groundhog. To find out more about the festivities click here.
Whether spring will be early or not, the writing still needs to be done. I hope these prompts add some colour to your February.
1. Use one, some, or all of these words in a story or poem:
- fire, red, cracker, edge, cover, case
- hat, snow, candle, black, run, wind
2. Try one of these opening lines to start a story:
- It’s amazing what you can do when your life is in danger.
- Falling on ice hurts a lot more when you’re no longer six or wearing a snow suit.
- I have done as you asked, my lord.
- Henry leaned on the railing, his back to the sea.
- The photo album in the antique shop was from the turn of the last century, so why did the woman in the photographs look like me?
- I should have mentioned that I was afraid of heights.
3. Here are some titles that might suggest a story to go with them: Lost Hearts, Danger Island, Driven, Snow Men, The Gamble, Hunter, Ice Cap, King’s Ransom
4. What scene can you create from these lines of dialogue?
- Remind me why I have to be nice to her.
- Don’t ask. I’m finding it hard to think of a reason right now.
- That’s what I thought.
- I’m sure I heard something.
- So what.
- If the noise is what I think it is, it means we’re not alone.
- Wolves are like two-year-olds.
- When you can’t heat them you know you’re in trouble.
- Why did she have to come with us?
- Funny, she asked the same thing about you.
- I think I’ve found something.
- Over here.
- Oh. I think you’ve found more than something.
5. In the past week, I’ve managed to find the direction I’ve been looking for in my writing since the beginning of January. Brainstorm around any variations on the words direct or direction, and see where your imagination takes you–director of a company or a play, direct vs alternating current, the compass rose on a map, your own plans/goals for the future (or just the next week)–you get the idea. If an idea for a story or poem comes from your brainstorming, consider writing down your first rush of thoughts with the computer screen turned off (or prop a piece of paper over your laptop screen.) When you can’t see what you’re writing, it’s easier to eliminate your editor from the process. You’re more free to play when the red and green lines and squiggles aren’t telling you that you made a typo or haven’t written a complete sentence. Worry about those later, just enjoy the story.