Have you ever wondered why people choose to buy flowers as opposed to just taking a picture of them to keep forever? Obviously, the picture will last longer and the beauty of the sunflowers will forever hold its value. So why do people choose to waste money on flowers that will die in a few weeks?
The life span of freshly cut flowers is short, much shorter than that of a picture. The flowers will not live forever in the vase. At max they will have a three to four week life span, peaking at the second week. The first two weeks, the flowers beauty will flourish, bringing much light and life to the apartment. During the third week, the petals begin to fall off and tops of the stem begin to droop. As it crumbles into death during the fourth week, the flowers shrivel up eventually leading to its disposal through the garbage shoot. If flowers only last a few weeks, why bother at all?
Maybe it’s because there is a non comparable appreciation to the real thing sitting on the table. We can feel, smell, and see the beauty daily with the real flowers whereas in pictures we can only see it in one dimension. Although we know that the beauty will fade and eventually the flowers will die, we'd rather have this experience than none at all.
An Invitation: Today I used the strategy of starting my writing off with a question, which sparked a thought and led to a discovery. This is a strategy that writers use to think out an answer they are trying to solve. I chose a simple question but later in my writing reflected a deeper meaning to my original question. What question will spark your writing today?
An array of desserts sat before me. An original creamy slice of New York-style cheesecake topped with a bright strawberry glaze assumed center stage of an oversized serving dish. To its right, showcased a contrasting silky layer of chocolate mousse in between two layers of cake, covered with a thick coat of rich frosting. On the outskirts of the dish hunkered a classic creamy three scoops of vanilla ice cream. I could hardly see the perfectly rounded mounds, as it was covered in a sheet of velvety fudge, caramel, and thinly shavings of almonds. The options were endless. I wanted them all.
The waiter returned and daintily placed the small dish in front of me, as if any sudden movement would destroy the pure perfection. I unraveled my napkin and the silverware clinked together almost to shout, “Eat it! Eat it!” I picked up my fork and I slowly wedged it into the gooey chocolate brownie, managing to scoop up bits of hot fudge, caramel, and a sliver of french vanilla ice cream all in one bite. The flavors danced on the tip of my tongue. In the end, I chose the sweetest treat on the dessert menu.
An Invitation: Today I used sensory details to help my readers envision what was going on in my slice. I hope it didn’t make you too hungry! Writers use details that appeal to the senses to help the reader imagine the events of the story. Try writing a slice while describing what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling to paint a vivid picture for your readers! Make the reader see what you see, hear what you hear, taste what you are tasting, etc. It might help to reference this list to capture these sensory details.
A single lamp turns on.
It illuminates an orb and grows throughout the bedroom.
Movement in the house starts to light the others.
Slowly, every corner of the apartment shines.
As the sun rises, the lighting changes.
Before, illuminated by fluorescent
now, shines natural light.
A little taste of morning beauty.
Others start their morning and more lamps are turned on.
The sounds grow louder as the lights grow brighter.
Busy and Rushed
The new day is beginning with a little taste of morning.
An Invitation: The great thing about blogging is that it allows writers the freedom to play around with different formats. In my post, I wrote a poem that was inspired by the lamp that wakes me up in the morning. Writing a poem allows writers to be creative and express themselves in a way that may only make sense to the writer. Try writing a poem that was inspired by something that happened during your day. You might look to your favorite poems to mimic the style of writing or you may want to free write your own.
If it wasn’t for you, I would have never worked at camp. I would have never met some of the best friends. I would have went to Western Michigan University. I would have never spent the last seven summers of my life in Michigan. I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
As a camper, I looked up to you. I studied how you captured the attention of all campers around you, and made our week the most memorable week of our life. I don’t know if you realize the impact that you had on so many lives of campers, on future staff members, and me. You embodied the camp spirit, the camp attitude, and Wakeshma traditions. Not only did you make an impact on our one week that we camped, but you made an everlasting impact on our future decisions.
When I decided to work at camp, I often would think about you and what you would do in a situation. What would Milton do? This thought and many thoughts like this guided my decision making process throughout my first three years as staff. During my fourth year, you came back and I was given the opportunity to work alongside you. My admiration for you only grew stronger.
I want to thank you for all of the years I was able to learn from you. I learned how to work with children from you, how to capture an audience, how to mentor counselors, and what to do when making a tough decision. I learned how to ignore what others think of you and trust your gut decision. I have never told you this but you helped make me the person I am today and I am forever grateful. Camp is such a large portion of my life and I have you to thank for that.
An Invitation: Today I wrote to someone from my past who I feel like shaped me as a person. In some way, they changed my life for the better. I invite you to try the same. Try to think of someone from outside of your home, a coach, a teacher, a camp counselor, a mentor of some sorts, even a friend. Write a letter to that person, thanking them and explaining how they affected you. If you are writing to an actual friend who is at Burley, please just address it, “Dear Friend” and avoid using specific names.
"Channel one in the old books and channel 3 in the new," I shout across the lodge. My voice is echoed by Pat, Tessa, and Gabbie who relay my message throughout the campers and staff. The sounds of Camp Wakeshma Song Books pages flipping frantically fill the air. I can tell returning campers are on the right page because of their gasps of excitement. They know the words to this song. It's a true camp classic-the best classic.
Pat, Tessa, Gabbie, and I give each other the look. As our eyes meet, we read other minds, come together in a huddle and start the classic that gives Wakeshma its heart and soul. Together we chant in a whisper, only loud enough to be heard by the four of us,"1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4." All at once we break from the huddle and spread throughout the lodge bellowing the words loud enough to be heard over the 160 voices singing in unison. "BOOM! BOOM! Ain't it great to be crazy!"
The returning campers begin the thundering pounds of the lodge tables. "BOOM! BOOM! Ain't it great to be crazy!" The pounds ring amongst all areas of camp. The pounds make the tables jump when all 12 campers pound together. The pounds make the windows rattle when all 14 cabins pound together. The pounds unite us. This is where camp gets it heartbeat, in the lodge.
An Invitation: Today I used the strategy of using a familiar place to tell a story. I began with a larger place, Camp Wakeshma, and then I zoned in on a specific area of camp where I could write my slice. I invite you to write about a place that is special to you. Find a specific area of that place that you can zoom in and tell a short story.
My pillow is like a soothing lullaby,
Singing me to a peaceful sleep.
My blanket is like the beaming sun,
Warming me in this chilly night.
My eyelids are like the heavy curtains,
Shutting out the street light’s glow.
My dreams are like fantasy books,
Entertaining me in my unconsciousness.
My alarm clock is like the sounds of shattering glass,
Startling me awake.
The sun is like a racing tortoise,
Taking its time to peak above the horizon.
My day is like a new blank page,
Waiting to be written.
An Invitation: Today I used many similes in my writing. A simile is a figure of speech that uses "like" or "as" to compare something to something else that is similar. In my slice today, I chose to write about my nightly routine and compare my pillow, blanket, dreams, etc. to something similar. In doing so, it paints a clearer picture for my readers. I invite you today to use many similes in your slice to paint a more vivid picture for your readers. What similes will you use? What objects or aspects of your day will you compare? Can you pinpoint a simile in your current independent reading book?
A vibration in my pocket makes me check my phone to see who is calling. Ah yes, it’s Sunday. Dad always calls on Sunday. “Hey Dad! What’s up?”
“What’s up, Guy? How’s it going?” My dad remarks with a chuckle in his voice. I don’t know where my dad picked the nickname ‘guy’, but he uses it on all of his children.
Sunday phone calls are more important to my dad than watching the White Sox play. He calls all five of children on Sunday to check in with us and see how we are doing. This is how he shows his love. Most time these conversations only last a minute or two. Sometimes, depending if he puts mom on the line, they can last an hour or two.
“Nothing much on this end, just spending my Sunday catching up on grading papers,” I manage to huff out, overwhelmed by the surrounding pile of papers to grade. “So what did I miss this last week? Any news to report from good old Beverly.”
“Well it snowed on Tuesday, so I stayed in and made a fire. On Wednesday, I went over to Bernie the Rat’s house and played cards with the fellas. Then on Wednesday, Michelle and Joe had your ma’ and I over for dinner,” Dad blabbered, sounding satisfied with his decision of the week.
“Take it easy over there, Old Man! It sounds like retired life is really taking a number on you,” I sarcastically commented back. Through the phone, I heard my dad snickering until he coughed. Little comments like this made him laugh the most.
“Well have you talked to your sister yet, guy?” My dad’s tone changed.
“Which one? Autumn or Michelle? What did she do know” I questioned, unsure of who he could be talking about.
“Your sister, Michelle!”
“No, I haven’t. What’s up?” I question my dad. This is his gossip tone.
“Well get ready to have a niece or another nephew, because Michelle and Joe are pregnant!” My dad excitedly exclaims.
“I am sorry what?! When did she find out!” I blurt out. The thought of Michelle having a baby girl fills my mind and I start to tune out my dad.
An Invitation: Today, I used the strategy of using dialogue to enhance my narrative. This is a strategy that many writers use to replay what characters have said. Notice how I picked stronger words than ‘said’ as my tagline while also including more description the interaction with my dad. I invite you to write a dialogue between you and another person. You can choose to add more people to your dialogue, just remember to enter a new space when a new person begins speaking.
Waiting for the bus, I curl my fingers into my palms and shove my hands deep into my pockets looking for warmth. Where is the bus? A bundled up man walks up besides me and checks the bus stop sign. Wearing a coat that is thicker than two pillows taped together, this man waddles in the middle of the street trying to glance down Belmont in hopes of finding the 77 bus in the far distance. Annoyed, the man stomps back to the sidewalk and huffs with impatience beside me. Why is he having such a bad day? It's Friday, cheer up!
I jump as I feel a cold sensation touch my leg. What just splashed on me?! I look down to see a curious golden retriever walking down the street. A smile emerges and I pull my hands out of my pockets to pet the dog. It's funny how dogs can make everything better. My hands don't feel so cold anymore.
The dog moves on and my eyes follow where he goes. The dog stops to sniff the man beside me. Maybe the dog will brighten up his day? The man holds out a hand and the dog timidly sniffs his finger. The dogs ear are pursed back and his neck is stretched out. Can the dog sense this man's bad mood? All of the sudden, the dog excitedly wags his tail and proceeds to lick the man's hand before carrying on with his walk. The man lets out a laugh and a weight has been lifted from his shoulders. Do dogs know how much joy they bring?
An Invitation: Did you notice that I put some lines in italics today? Sometimes author's do this to indicate that this an internal thought, not something that was said out loud. Have you tried adding your thinking about events into your slices yet? How might your slice read differently using italics to show these moments as opposed to saying "I thought." I invite you to try this out. See what it does for your writing!