Sunday, March 02, 2008

A productive member of society

I'm trying to force myself to think in new "outside the box" ways and do some writing. I need to do something a bit more creative than schleping through the endless lists of blogs in my Google Reader. Unfortunately, that productive thing is not working (and I marked 94 entries as read just to end the insanity).

I had a brilliant idea. I would ask dh for a word (without an explanation). I would then head to our bookshelf and find a book with that word in the title. From there, I would ask him for a number and turn to that page. After he supplied another number, I would count down that many lines and use that as the opening for a short fiction piece.

He gave me the word, "Cup." After some initial hesitation (aka freaking out), I realized that while I don't see that in any titles (which genius came up with this idea? We have several hundred books on our bookshelves. How in the hell am I supposed to read through all the titles in search of a single word?), I knew I owned a book with a picture of a cup on its cover. Good enough. I searched and found that book. Then I left it on the couch while I ran around doing completely random and relatively useless things.

Give me a moment to get all the sighing out of my system. Then we'll see where I go from here.

11:17 pm edit: After turning to a random page (621) and asking dh for a number (34), I came across this paragraph which I adore,

"Not even then did she speak. As a powerful Jewish woman, intelligent beyond the average and capable in many untested directions, she began to find reassureance in her unexpected resolve, which she expressed only to herself by keeping her hands pressed tightly against her sides until her fingertips grew white with controlled fury, and in that insolent pose she stared back at the rabbi until the pusillanimous lawgiver left the room....

It's actually from one of the stories that bothered me the most in the novel (Shimrith, her evil brother-in-law, and Jewish law regarding a childless widow with a childless brother-in-law). It's such a powerful paragraph. Hmmm... Perhaps I can do something with this.


Jerseygirl89 said...

What a cool and creative idea.

Suzie said...

Very cool idea - I actually do something slightly similiar with my kids and poetry. We do a "First Line" prompt in which I pick a completely random book and a kid has to pick a random page number and then I read the first line and write it on the board (I adapt it if it is inappropriate or inappropriate for 9th graders!). It's really cool to see what everyone comes up with afterwards and to compare to the original poem. We then discuss how everyone has a "right" answer as long as they tried their best!

Hyphen Mama said...

This is a very interesting idea for all kinds of creative writing. I'll have to remember it, both for myself and my kids.

Thanks for stopping over at my place. Hope to see you again.