by Nancy Casey
For this week’s exercise, you are going to need at least two pages, so as you gather your writing materials and organize your desk for your writing practice, keep that in mind.
Set one of the pages aside, and on the other, draw two long lines so that the page is divided into three columns. In the first column, make a list of objects that you have noticed in your life. Skip a couple of spaces after each one. You can choose things that are right in front of you at this moment, or objects that you saw at some time in the past, as long as you can still see them clearly with your “mind’s eye.”
Be as specific as you can in naming the objects. For instance, don’t write “furniture” if you can write “favorite chair.” Don’t just write “clothes” when you can say “pants I got at the Goodwill on sale for a dollar.”
When you have a dozen or so items spread down the page in the first column, fill in the second column by writing down what color each of the objects is.
The third column in the tricky one. In that column, name a different object that is the exact same color as the object written in the first column.
Imagine that you wrote “my cereal bowl” in the first column, and in the second column you recorded the fact that it is blue. For the third column, don’t just write down the name of any old blue thing. It must be a blue thing whose blue is the exact same blue as the cereal bowl. You might have to look for it.
I actually found this quite difficult to do. It took me a long time (two days!) to fill in the third column. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be possible. Then, gradually, I started noticing or remembering other objects whose colors matched the color of the items in the first column. So if filling in the third column seems hard at first, give yourself some time, take a walk or do a chore, all the while scanning the colors of things for the “match” that you need. Don’t give up!
When you have filled all three columns, set the page someplace where it is easy to see, and take up a new sheet. Using what you wrote on the first page as “notes,” write a story or describe a scene with some or all of the objects in it. Every time you mention something from your lists, show what color it is, not by naming the color, but by saying what other thing is the same color.
What you write can be completely true, completely made up, or a mixture of both. It might come out a little goofy, but it will be interesting, too. It will be colorful without mentioning a single color! Here’s an example of what you could write.
Be sure to write the date on your pages and to give them titles. A title or heading for each column will help you remember what you were trying to do when you look at this page later.
Keep this exercise in mind as you go throughout your week. Look for matching colors around you. Keep adding to your list of things that are the same color when you get a chance. Write another story or add to the one you started.
Are some colors harder to find than others? Are there colors that are repeated over and over everywhere?
Nancy Casey teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursdays. Check the calendar for classes and times. All are welcome. Nancy also coordinates Recovery Radio, which airs on KRFP 90.3 FM in Moscow Thursdays at 1:05 PM. Recovery Radio needs on-air and off-air volunteers. Call the Recovery Center 208-883-1045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.