Sunday, April 24, 2011

Writing Exercsie #50


1. Someone from your life who was treated terribly by a group of people. It's okay if you didn't know them personally. It's better if you are unsure of their current whereabouts.

_ _ _

Write a mythology for this person. Decide when, in their life, they became a target for wrong doing. Start it small, at birth perhaps. When the lonely nurse refused to give them over to their mother. Or first grade, when the teacher never called them by their right name. Create the moments that snowballed into them becoming a person who could endure hardships later on. But make sure this becomes their power; their ability to withstand the worst of people.

For example, this girl Alma from fifth grade used to pick on us first graders while standing in line for the bus. She used to yank our braids or kick us really hard in the back of our legs. In reality, I'd finally had enough one day and I turned around and whopped her in the head with my metal Bee Gee's lunch pail. But here, I'd write that every time she kicked me, I'd levitate a little. And when I came home to my father, he'd smack me a little higher into the air. You know. One Hundred Years of Solitude style.

Allow as much of the fantastic to happen to and from this person. Give them all of the powers you can muster. Write them a wonderful life. Or write them as the hero of a cautionary tale. Remember how everything in the world is capable of witness. How did nature respond to this person? What became of manmade things in their path? What, if anything, has taken the place of their blood? Hands? Mouth? Heart?


(This exercise was inspired by Neutral Milk Hotel's songs Little Birds (start it at 1:06) and Oh Comely.)