The Exquisite Exhaustion

Due to increasingly gloomy weather conditions and a marked lack of sleep last night, today’s post will be brief and short on meaning and profundity. When I get my eight hours of sleep, I am on fire and can write like a hopped-up squirrel. At considerably less than that, though, my creativity and alertness drop like leaded flies.

The writing class was loads of fun, and very informative to boot! The teacher is a lovely lady and she did a commendable job of keeping the class substantive, fast-paced, and personal. We spent the majority of our time doing writing exercises, some of which were fun while others were challenging, and the rest of our time reading excerpts from great authors and analyzing them.

She invited us to submit works-in-progress to the class for constructive critiquing, so I ponied up one of the pivotal chapters from my novel for their perusal. There was a wide variety of writers there, everyone from poets to children’s writers, so I’m looking forward to getting some good feedback.

It’s a scary feeling to have my work out there, floating amid other people. I worry a bit that all this is for naught and my novel is a paltry little work of fluff but no one I know will tell me because they don’t want to crush me. Then I tell myself to get a grip and just let people see it already. If it takes a village to raise a child, I see no reason why it can’t take a village to edit a novel as well.

We did one exercise in particular that was a lot of fun and I’ll share it with you so you can try for yourself. It’s called “The Exquisite Corpse” and is nowhere near as macabre as it sounds. A bunch of philosophers invented this to give them something to do whilst drinking.

You need at least two people, a writing implement, and a lined sheet of paper. Write two lines of text on the paper, about anything you want. Then, fold over the sheet so the top line is hidden but the bottom line is visible. Hand it to the other person, who will read the second line you wrote and then write two lines of their own. They fold the sheet down too, hiding their first line, and hand it back to you so you can read their second line and write two more of your own. Repeat until you feel like it and then read the whole thing.

It can be total nonsense or it can be surprisingly eloquent, but either way it’s a fun way to see how perspective and context can change the direction of a sentence.

Alas, my last reserves of energy have left me and I’m going to shuffle down to the kitchen to join my husband is dinner preparations. If any of you try “The Exquisite Corpse” be sure to let me know! In fact, and even better, share with me your results. It would be a lot of fun to hear what everyone comes up with!

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