Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretend You're a Man--It's Good for You!

I bounced, galloped, pedaled, paddled, and scampered my way through grade school. Sitting for long periods of time still makes me itch.

I itch a lot.

I set the timer for 30 minutes during my writing day. The trill releases me to move about for five minutes to keep my blood from turning to sludge. This is the only way I can be a writer.

Two years ago, a double-whammy injury made me sedentary for most of a year. As you’ve probably already guessed, the limitations nearly drove me insane. And since I am of a “certain” age, my body isn’t bouncing back.

I’m walking daily—through wind and sleet and dark of night—and contorting myself through stretches and Pilates.

And still the muscles growl and bite.

My physical therapist tells me to stick with it.


My brain needs a regular workout, too. I keep a book of crossword puzzles handy, read delicious novels, and journal daily with a feverish hand. A writer needs more, something to spark the creative genius within. Some call them writing exercises. Not me. I do plenty of exercises, thank you very much. I call these activities games.

Writing games prod us to look at something with fresh eyes, to be male though female, to remember the summer of ’88 or ’62 or 2079. Perhaps a writing game will give you that rare opportunity to have a sit-down with your cat. To meet your great-great grandmother at her favorite Disney World ride. To describe two very different feet.

Let’s play!

Here are five, quick “games” from Elizabeth Berg’s book, The Art of Writing True. Choose one or all. Whatever you do, have fun! To make this more interesting. If you're a woman, play the game as a man. If you're a man, yep, you've got your pink thinking cap on today.

Use these three words in a sentence: dream, heart, gold.

He’s so weird! He likes to eat ___________ and __________ together!

Write the first line for a love story.

Write the last line for a tragedy.

An odd smell, a mix of __________ and __________

Since I'm asking so much of you today, for all who play I'll put your name in a hat and pull out a winner. The prize is one of my novels. Your choice! Ready, set...go!


Kathy said...

Callie looked like a dream in her white t-shirt, making his heart race faster than he could run and he knew if she smacked that ball out of the ballpark, she was gold. He already knew she could run like the wind and catch fly balls better than any of his friends. If she could hit the ball like he hoped, then he would swallow his pride, step up to the plate, and ask her out.

I'm not sure I wrote that like a man would, but I tried the man's perspective. I think. How fun. Writing is something I'm slowing starting to do, using my imagination for a purpose. :) Thanks for the post.

Patti Hill said...

Kathy, this is wonderful! You're imagination is fully engaged. You used all of the words and saw the Callie through a guy's eyes. Awesome.
Don't be shy everyone. Step up to the plate with Kathy. This is fun!

Word verification, saphose: This is saphose to be fun!

Diane Marie Shaw said...

Bill woke in a cold sweat, his heart was pounding. That dream could not have been any weirder. He had to stop eating sauerkraut just before bed. The part about his brother moving to Alaska to be a moose tracker could happen. When his mother stepped into the dream and smiled, things got real weird. The sight of his 75 year old mother sporting a gold tooth sent the dream into nightmare status.

Tired to write it from a man's point of view.
This was fun. Thanks
Diane Marie

Patti Hill said...

Very clever, Diane. You did a great job. Moose tracker? Definitely a male perspective.

Kathy and Diane, for putting your creativity out there for the world to see, you both are winners. Please visit my web site: to peruse my book list. Let me know your choice through our contact button on the blog's homepage and also send me your addy.

Thanks for playing. That was fun!

Steve G said...

Kathy - try rewriting what you wrote in present tense, as if it is happening right when you read it.

Diane - try rewriting what you wrote in first person, letting us feel the sweat instead of describing it as a third person.

He likes to eat mustard and bread together... ewwww.

The sea of faces appear in black and white, gray tones with shadows and highlights. Suddenly my eyes fall on her, full color with a tremulous smile that only a virgin meeting brings.

Word verification - nowast: A severe weather event titled by a retired sea captain on the New England coast. "that was some storm, eh?" "That nowast sure had some blow in it!"