A Writer's Exercise


This week I attended the Writer’s Institute at U.W. Madison. One of the workshop leaders addressed the topic of finding a topic. Since it is now Sunday night, and I need to have this Cheese Grits article written by Monday morning, and I have no idea what I am going to write, I thought I would see if I could put her workshop material to immediate good use. She said that the best material comes from our own imperfections, idiosyncrasies and quirks, and she had us spend five minutes listing these. Since I have no imperfections, idiosyncrasies or quirks, this was a difficult exercise for me, but I did come up with a few things:

  1. I suffer from massive Coke burps. Give me a Coke, or any carbonated beverage, and after a few swallows I will erupt with a belch that gives any seven-year-old boy serious competition in the “bodily sounds” arena.
  2. I enjoy sleeping. I really do, and sometimes I can hardly wait for the sun to set so that I can jump into bed. On a winter’s day, I love to relax in a lavender-scented bath, don freshly laundered pajamas still warm from the dryer, and crawl between newly clean sheets. I drift into hypnogonic reveries and relish the act of falling asleep.
  3. I am always day dreaming, especially when riding in a car or bus. When I was a preteen and teen, I used to get mad if my mother spoke to me or asked me a question that interrupted my day dreams when we were traveling somewhere. On the school bus, there were days that I would not talk to my friends because, like Walter Mitty, I was in the midst of some elaborate day dream—usually with me as the heroine and my “ideal” of a prince charming as the hero. Even today, if I am a passenger on a long trip, the passing scenery beckons to me from the window, inviting me to get lost in a dream. And, I usually do.
  4. I don’t like riding down escalators. When I was about four years old, my mom and I were in a Rich’s department store in Atlanta. We were taking the down escalator, and I tripped getting on it, traveling down about three of the escalator steps on my rear end. It was one of those wicked escalators with metal teeth at the edge of the steps; my bottom hurt for days. So, if I am in a crowded place like a basketball arena at game-end (and I cannot find the stairs), I cause pedestrian traffic pile-ups at the top of the down escalator because I stop, close my eyes, grab the railing with white knuckles and take a deep breath before stepping gingerly onto top step.
  5. I cannot abide cockroaches. My dad’s business was located in the old Atlantic Ice House in Decatur, GA, and like any old industrial building, it provided the perfect habitat for all sorts of creepy, crawly things. One day when I was about five or six, I went to use the newly constructed bathroom. When I sat down on the toilet, I noticed that the inside of the door was covered with swarming cockroaches. I screamed until my mom came and opened the door. I dashed right past her, my pants and underwear still down around my ankles. I consider the lack of cockroaches one of the single biggest advantages to living in Wisconsin, and I think that the state tourism board should make more of this advantage.

So, there you have it, a column of quirks or a quirky column that in my opinion, was a little too easy to write.

©2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “A Writer's Exercise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s