Category Archives: The Write-Brain Workbook

An actual book to get you writing. Look it up and get writing. ISBN 9781582973555.

Those were the days – Write-Brain, Day 6

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It has been so long since I’ve done an exercise from my Write-Brain Workbook.  All of our belongings were packed up in October and most of my books stayed in storage until recently when we moved into our new house.  Today, when I was at a loss for what to write about and writer’s block was in full swing, it dawned on me that I could –and should- do a page today… so here it is!

Finish the story.  Start with:

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Back in 1938, before… emails and video calling the best way to communicate with the woman you love who lives far away was via the written letter mailed through the United States Postal Service.

Her letters would arrive in my mailbox every Monday and Wednesday if she had an adventurous week I might get an extra one on Saturday.

The envelopes were a pale pink made of delicate paper and addressed with her graceful handwriting.  I would gently pull open the envelope, careful not to rip more than necessary, then take out the heavenly scented letter savoring every word.  She signed every one in the same manner, “Sincerely, Marilyn” in wispy and beautiful cursive lettering.  Those letters seared into my heart.

I looked forward to the letters even though we had never met in person.  She was the love of my life and she didn’t know it.  We started writing when a friend of my mother offered to have her niece write to me as I grew more useless from polio.  I was depressed.  I didn’t want some girl’s pity letters but I was not given a choice in the matter.  One day a letter arrived addressed to me and nothing was the same again.

Our letters started very formal and stiff.  Neither of us asked for this.  Her aunt pressured her to write and once the letters started arriving I didn’t want to offend her, her aunt, or my mother so I played along.  But after a few weeks the letters evolved into casual conversation between friends.  She told me about her days, friends, what she liked and disliked, about the local events, and her dreams.  I told her of my dreams and all I hoped to accomplish when I could be more active.  I downplayed my disease as much as I could and embellished my accomplishments.

I began to realize that I had created an image of myself for her that was not entirely accurate.  Over the course of two years I had described a man I wished to be; not who I really was.  She had written to me that she had a break in classes coming up and wanted to come my way and stay with her aunt so we could finally meet.  I relished in the thought of seeing her for the first time.  My heart would melt at the first glimpse of her beauty, my soul would forever be weakened in her absence.  I loved her and I hadn’t met her yet.

So it was set up and she was to arrive in two weeks.  She and I would meet at my mother’s house in the garden where I could be waiting on a bench before she arrived.  I didn’t want her to see how lame I was, how far the weakness had progressed.  I wanted to be a man she could love, maybe marry, but who could marry a man who couldn’t even get down on one knee to propose.  I was sure she would stop writing me once she saw the man I really was.

On the day she arrived my mother wheeled me into the garden and took away the chair after I sat myself in the gazebo.  I waited for footsteps but only heard the breeze running through the leaves.  After a moment I heard my wheelchair crackling through the garden coming back to me.  Angry, I yelled to my mother “I don’t want her to see me in that chair!” Please take it back inside.”  The crackling stopped.  “It’s me.”  It was the most beautiful voice I had ever heard.  I turned around for my first look at a woman who I had loved through letters for the better part of three years.  My heart stopped.  Not only was she more beautiful than every flower in the garden but she was also in a wheelchair.

We talked for hours.  I asked my mother to ring back my chair and I took Marilyn to my favorite place where I would read her letters, under the shade of a large Oak in the park overlooking a babbling creek.  She told me she was injured as a baby and had been in a wheeled chair as long as she could remember.  She said she didn’t think of herself as anything different than the rest of the kids she grew up with.  I don’t see how it is possible but I fell in love with her even more that day.

As the sun set and we readied to return home, with my heart filled with unabashed excitement, I poured out all my feelings toward her.  To my own surprise, in the fever of it all I asked her to marry me.  She looked at me, shocked after being assaulted with such an outpour of emotion from a man whom she had only written to, then smiled.  “Yes!”  And that was it.

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Write-Brain, Day 4

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Terrible Twos

You are a two year old.  Write from this perspective.  Be childlike! PLAY!

Give yourself a name (with the initials C.A.T): Carter Avery Thompson

Nickname: Fart Blossom (daddy only)

Eye color: green

Hair color: blondish

Favorite Food: Berries and cheese

Siblings’ names/ages: 2 sisters, Jamie and Sydney

How they treat you: unfair

Thoughts on toilet Training: Needed, much needed!

Start with: Here I am stuck in my crib…

Here I am stuck in my crib planning my escape.  My parents have put me in this jail because they say it’s “nigh-night” time but the sun is still out.  I should be up!  My sisters are.  Why do they get to stay up?  Jamie is a big girl so I guess I understand why she gets to stay up late.  But Sid?  I am almost as big as her!  She gets so stay up until after the news is over.  That is like a whole hour more.  It is so unfair.

Mommy has me in a big diaper because I sometimes pee a lot.  It is so uncomfortable and it bunches under my jammies.  I have started going potty on ducky but when I am locked in this crib I just can’t roll out of bed in the middle of the night to go when I need to.  I hate diapers.  Who wants to play in a wet diaper all day?  I see my sisters and mommy and daddy peeing in the potty and I really wanted to try.  Daddy pees funny.  I can pee standing up but only when I am in the shower or if I have a diaper on.  My pee pee does not reach the potty.  I like to sit on ducky and dangle my feet.  Mommy usually sits on the floor in front of me andgives me a candy if I pee or fart.  Farting is funny.  Sometimes I try really really hard to fart but then I make poo.  I like the sound of farts but there is no sound with poo.  Mommy and daddy laugh when I fart, that’s why daddy calls me Fart Blossom.  I fart in the tub.  It makes bubbles.  I like bubbles.  When we play outside I have my own tube of bubbles.  I don’t let my sisters play with my bubbles.  My tube of bubbles is huge!  It’s almost bigger than me.  It has a huge bubble stick inside and when I ask daddy to make bubbles he can sometimes make huge bubbles.  I like when daddy makes huge bubbles.  I chase all the bubbles when they fly away.  I almost caught one one day.  I touched it but then it popped.  They always pop.  I want a bubble that doesn’t pop.  I would carry it around like a ball.  I have a ball that I hit with a stick.  Daddy has the same kind of sticks but I am not allowed to play with them.  The are long and shiny.  My stick kinda looks like a carrot and is orange and green.  I used to have a whole cart of sticks but I hit the dog with one and it broke.  Then I hit the wall with another one and it broke.  Then I pulled really hard on the last one and it broke.  Mommy threw them in the trash.  Now I have a holder for them that looks like daddy’s holder but mine is made of hard stuff and his is soft.  I don’t mind too much.  I carry my trucks in my stick holder.  I sometimes put lunch in it too.  Mommy doesn’t know about that.

I am not tired but I am in my bed.  I don’t have any of my toys.  The only thing I can do in here is play with me feet and look for ways to escape.  Sometimes when my feet are sticky I can pull and climb my way up the side.  I haven’t been able to get out yet but I think I should try again.  My feet feel kinda sticky and I really want out.  I will pull and climb!  Puuuuuuuuuulllllllllllll. Cliiiiiiiiiiiimb!

-thump-

Mommy!!!  Daddy!!!

 

*Finally! I frced myself to do this WB Day 4.  I had such a hard time placing myself in the mindset of a two year old because I have a two year old.  I don’t understand why he does some of the things he does.  Not a day goes by that I look at him in shock.  How did he devise this?  What was he trying to do?  Does he think he was successful?  Will he do it again?

Off the bat, I thought this would be easy.  Boy was I wrong.

Write-Brain, Day 3

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This of a person who really bugs or annoys you.  Think of a place you’d like to send this person.  Then -mentally- send them there!  With that in mind, start with:

The post card arrived… and she likes it there so much she is thinking about staying!  It was my biggest hope that she would say that but when I read it I was truly stunned.  My plan worked!  When I won a round trip flight from a scratch-off ticket I immediately thought about where I could go.  Then reality hit and I knew getting time off work and being able to afford things when I got there was a long shot.  My ‘friend’ however, is always boasting that she needs a vacation and her life is so stressful and all she needed was a little push.  Well I shoved her!

I didn’t want to tell her the tickets could be used for anywhere the airliner flew.  If I did I knew she’d insist I go home to see family, so I told her I’d won two tickets for a round-trip flight to Los Angeles.  Perfect!  The weather would be nice and there is so much to do there she and her husband may fall in love and decide to stay.  At first, she begged me to go with her and she offered to pay for the hotel and food.  I told her I was working on a huge project for our boss and couldn’t get out of it.  Thank goodness she didn’t ask him about it or I’d have been screwed.  I told her to use it like a late honeymoon for her and her new husband since theirs was canceled thanks to Hurricane Margaret ten months ago.  Her husband was cool but when he drinks he surpasses her annoyingness and since losing his job he has been drinking like a fish.

Part of me feels bad.  I became friends with her when we both moved to the big city after college.  We had a mutual friend who suggested we get an apartment together and since I couldn’t afford a decent place on my own, it was a better option than any.  She was great at first but she was more high maintenance than I could ever get used to; from a physical sense and an emotional one.  She was in the bathroom for two hours each morning then in her bedroom for another hour getting dressed; the whole time blaring bad pop music.  Each day she would come home from work crying or gleaming about some office drama and trap me on the couch to hear every detail.  I knew I was digging my own grave when I helped her get a job in my office after her company downsized.  But what was I supposed to do?  If she didn’t work she would go broke and I would be fully responsible for rent and I knew we’d be homeless before our lease was up.  When she debated moving in with the poor sap -I mean, the man of her dreams- I started packing her things as I told her what a great idea it was.  We parted ways and I relished the quiet in MY new studio apartment hoping she and I would lose touch.  She just clung to me more while at work.

I know she is coming from a good place and I shouldn’t harbor such feelings for this girl but, bless her heart, I can’t stand her as far as I could throw her!  I only wish the best for her in life.  If she and her husband do decided to stay in California I will be content with never seeing her again.  I need her to move.  I need her to bury her roots far, far away so I am no longer being strangled by them.

* This ‘girl’ is not based on a real person.  I couldn’t think of anyone who annoyed me so much I needed to send him/her away.  There are a few people in the media -news anchors, musicians, actors, etc- whom annoy me but since I don’t have daily contact with them, sending them away would be pointless.

Write-Brain, Day 2

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The premise of today’s exercise was to write directly in the lines provided in the book and use the random placed letters of ‘New Year’s Resolution’.  I scanned the page so you could see what I wrote and where the letters were.

New Year’s resolutions make me laugh because 9 times out of 10 it is  health/weight related.  “it doesn’t matter the last time you cared about your body, what does matter is that you are doing something about it now” is what advertisers and retailers want you to think.  No I believe any excuse to get healthy is a good one but why wait to the new year? Start yesterday!  I think it may even give license to people to splurge during the holidays.  It is easy to eat a third or fourth helping if you’ve told yourself it will come off the start of the new year.   I know I’ve said the same thing to myself -especially around the new year or nearing beach season- but wouldn’t it be better I’d I worked out all year long?  When push comes to shove I dont want to have to worry about fitting into my clothes come start of the new year.  I want to look good anytime of the year and if I keep up with it it wont be a worry come next new year.  But lets be honest, I wont stick to my resolutions and neither will you, its a tradition.

* I didn’t like this exercise as much as I thought I would.  I think it is a really unique idea to confine a writer to a specific letter in a specific location but I would have preferred a different topic.  This didn’t let me write a story which I was sort-of hoping to do today.  This came out more of an opinion based piece; something I may have written the beginning of January (granted I’m sure that is when this “day” was intended for.)  I did also notice because I was limited to space and so focused on the next line I didn’t notice that I wrote ‘new year’ six times!  I also think that because it was written by hand I didn’t edit myself as closely.  There are more similar types of exercises later in the book so maybe when I get there I will have a bit more fun.

** Don’t critique me on my smoshed writing.  The pressure made me do it!

Write-Brain, Day 1

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Day 1:

Circle one word that appeals to me from each of the three groups and use them in a story.  My three words are: Carousel, Garage, Keepsake.

Start with the sentence…

Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel! ………………. I clean and organize my garage so I can finally park my car in there, but the junk just keep accumulating.  I allowed my aging uncle to move in six months ago thinking it would only be temporary.  He and his fourth wife got into another argument and she threw him out.  He told me she would come around and that he would be back home by the weekend, but soon he was making our guest room his bedroom and our garage his personal storage.

My uncle has had a hard life.  His first wife died in a freak car accident shorty after they married.  His second left him while he was away in Vietnam.  He married a third time way too fast, so it came as no surprise to us when she was simply not in the picture one day.  But his fourth we thought had real promise.  They had dated for a good amount of time and married in a simple ceremony in my father’s backyard.  Every holiday and family function we saw the two of them acting as any married couple would; bickering but smiling too.

One afternoon while I was doing laundry I heard a light knock at the door.  Through the glass I could see the silhouette of my aging uncle and a large Army duffle bag busting at the seams.  After I got him settled I sat down and tried to get the whole story.  Apparently he began ‘collecting’ things he found in his work as a maintenance man, and the big fight happened when she tried to throw away his loot.  I figured the things he was collecting was pipes, nuts, bolts, etc. so I could understand why he’d be upset with her getting rid of what he could potentially use on another job.

He lived with us for three weeks when I sat down in his room one afternoon and asked him his plans.  With a calmness in his voice he lifted his head off the pillow and looked me strait in the eye saying, “planned to take a nap then use the toilet before my shower.”  I needed more than what he wanted over the next few hours. I needed my house to be guest free, but I couldn’t exactly throw a family member on the street.  So I let it go and waited for the next opportunity to bring it up again.  His presence in our day to day routines became familiar and I just let time slip away without asking again.

One day I noticed a little pile of junk collecting in the back corner of our garage.  At first I thought it was my husband’s and brushed it off; the garage was his domain anyways.  A month later that small pile was climbing up the wall and starting to stink.  When I asked my husband he said it was my uncle’s and he didn’t want to say anything to me about it in case he had an illness.  Apparently he does and I just didn’t know.  I checked out the pile and found random knickknacks, three single shoes, a lamp shade, a hub cap and an antique carousel that had seen better days. Where did he pick up this stuff?

At first I didn’t say anything to him because I began to believe he’d be embarrassed by what we were perceiving  as hoarding, but I heard him bragging about it on the phone to his estranged wife.  I knew I had to say something but when I did he just said he needed this stuff.  I just blew it off because it was still contained in once corner of the garage so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to let it stay but parking my car in there began to get difficult.  I tried to force him to go through the pile but it never happened so I took matters into my own hand.  Week after week I was putting more stuff to the curb, giving the garbage men a real workout.  Every week I felt ike a gerbil on a wheel going around and around cleaning out his junk, getting no where.  He would get furious when I was dragging his ‘keepsakes.’

I had reached my limit. I went to his old house with intentions of begging his wife to take him back; even offer to pay for therapy. After a few unanswered knocks I let myself in. Her car was in the driveway so I knew she had to be home. Sure enough her purse was on the ornate front entry table and keys were in the bowl next to it. I called for her as I searched he house but got no response. When I went into the garage I was smacked with a horrible stench.

I found my uncle’s fourth wife pinned under a large keepsake.

The Write-Brain Workbook Project

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I picked up this really cool book when I worked at Borders, you know, that really cool bookstore you all used to hang out at but never bought anything from.  

The premise of the book is quite simple.  There are 366 pages holding 366 ideas to get the write -I mean right- side of your brain going.  It is supposed to be done day-by-day for each day of the year but I think I will only use it sporadically, when I need a bit of a push.  I would love it if I always had something clever to write about but, sadly this is not the case.  I believe following this book will give me a structure in my creative ramblings and hopefully will allow me to write when my brain is taking some time off.  I feel like the back cover states it best: unlock writer’s block, eliminate the dreaded emptiness of the blank page, experiment with different ways to approach writing.

Most of the prompts are simply prompts on a colorful, themed page but some require writing right in the book.  If I write in the book or the actual page can add to the story I will take a picture and post it too.

The ISBN – 9781582973555

Author – Bonie Neubauer

Copyright – 2006

Publisher – Writer’s Digest

If I missed some critical publishing info just let me know and I will update this page.

To give credit where credit is due, book cover image stolen from http://www.amazon.com