Tuesday Tryouts: Shall I Compare Thee?

18 Jan

8:35 am, Tuesday, 18 January, 2011 – Atlanta

I might, to answer my title’s question but first we have to build a resource pool, so we will start with several freewrites. When I sorted through my metaphor material, I realised the whole comprises several steps, so we will take it in small mouthfuls. It occasionally dawns on me that you, too, have a daily routine to get through and probably a couple of sites whose prompts you are working on.

1. Describe something you saw in the past few weeks; treat it as a still-life: a meal, an object, a panorama. Paint it with words. Get as many details as possible in, as many sensory details as you can remember. Do not worry about sense, or good writing, at this point.


Chair and the Pipe Van Gogh

2. Describe something in a room in your house, or work [you need to be there], first from where you are and where it is. Then get as close as you can, put it under a mental magnifying glass and describe it again. You don’t know what will be important, or what you will want to focus on in the next steps, so every line, crack, crevice, and blemish should go into your writing. Do not worry about sense, or good writing, at this point.

3. Pick a person in a location and describe them. You might start with what they are doing then transition into a description. Painting a portrait with words is not easy, but, as you are not worrying about final product, be literal: His left elbow rested on a newspaper, the end of his sweater sleeve looked like it had been picked at, his hand curled around a Starbucks cup…pick a starting point and work out from there.

Room at Arles van Gogh

4. Think of an object, place, or scene, that you think you know well [it must be accessible]; without looking at it describe in as much detail as possible. Then find it and add details you forgot. Same caveat: Do not worry about sense, or good writing, at this point.


And, that is it! You can, of course, write several of these. Part 2, next Tuesday.

Remember, I am off tomorrow, but on Thursday I will have the second part of my thoughts on publishing.


Posted by on 18/01/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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2 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Shall I Compare Thee?

  1. Pearl

    19/01/2011 at 10:47 pm

    describing something abstract as a gap works too:

    • margo roby

      20/01/2011 at 8:03 am

      I like what you did with the abstractness of gaps. The closest I got to something like that was writing about the spaces between musical notes. Abstract is tough unless your brain can wander freely enough. Mine is too controlled[?]. I also love the piece you wrote on time.



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