Welcome to the third edition of The Scrib Gym! You may have noticed that I am amusing myself by stealing movie subtitles to identify each new installment to The Gym. So thank you, Mr. Lucas, for letting me allude to you, as I almost never allude until the third date.
Today’s Scrib Gym prompt: Describe what you see outside your kitchen window.
You know the drill–write something based on the prompt and post it in the comments section. Revise if you like or go off half-cocked (Can he say that in a family publication?).
I love this prompt because it can go in so many directions and the piece you come up with can depend on so many things, such as did you write it in the morning? The evening? Winter? Summer? Does your window look into the front yard? The backyard? The exercise yard at the local prison? Everyone will come up with something different.
Consequently, let me give you some things to think about as you write:
* This is predominantly a prompt about description. Character and conflict are welcome, but not required.
* To be descriptive is to be specific. Use specific nouns and strong verbs.
* Be observant. This is an opportunity for you, as a writer, to notice those things that on any other given day you might have missed. It’s all about the details.
* Use what you see now to comment on what happens in this space during other times (see my example below). Settings exist in a continuum.
* Don’t forget color, light, shadow, shape, and size.
* Don’t forget the music and rhythm of language.
* Don’t forget to experiment with sentence structure.
* Don’t forget emotional associations.
* Don’t forget to have fun.
Here is my contribution:
It is 5:42 p.m. Through the kitchen window blinds I see that the patio table still has a pink-striped tablecloth from last week’s birthday party for my daughter. Surrounded by four chairs with beige cushions, the table is covered in jars—two large, two small–containing citronella candles we lit that evening to keep the bugs away as my daughter and her friends played in the grass. A dead bee is bent in half and sits perilously close to the edge, although I suspect that his falling off would not matter much to him at this point. A curlicue-patterned area rug covers a section of the concrete slab directly beneath the table.
In the distance, I notice our rosebushes in the flowerbed. Six or seven bushes deep, they are what sold my wife on our house on our very first visit because they reminded her of the rosebushes her father tended as she grew up. A cluster of red, yellow, and pink roses rustle in the late afternoon wind, tossing their colorful heads back and forth like university professors at a cocktail party.
Since it is evening, the remaining sunlight throws long shadows up the open space outside our yard and one long shadow bathes the tree, the one split into five separate trunks, where my two children dragged what were–to them–giant 2x4s into the shade of the leaves to make their fort. It is also here in the open space just beyond the black, wrought iron fence that, long after the moon rises, our resident coyotes yammer their heads off, as they call and answer each other long into the night.
That’s what I saw just now. If I wrote another time, I would see (and write) something completely different. That’s the beauty of this prompt and the beauty of The Scrib Gym.
Happy writing! See you next time.