I’m awaiting to receive a couple new books, but I got a sneak peak into the first one and had to do one of the writing exercises! The book is “Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink” by one of my favorite authors, Gail Carson Levine. Here is the first exercise in the book:
Pick an object from around your house. Separate it in your mind from it’s real history and invent a history for it. Think of the drama, the tragedy, the comedy that went into it’s creation, its passage from owner to owner and its effect on their lives.
When I was first made – stitched and stuffed and stood – the year was 1914, a year of long gowns and gracefully lines. Hobble skirts were in and large hats were the trend. Lace and silk and chiffon and satin graced my body daily – pinched and pulled and pinned. My maker had made me firm in filling, but soft in exterior so that my skin was often pricked and punctured and impaled daily. But I didn’t mind. I was happy to be useful. But I never lost my figure and it was the envy of every woman who saw me. Perfectly pitched posture, curvy from creation, slender waist and seductive chest. They tried so hard to look like me, but they could never do so quite as effortlessly.
And then the year changed and I found I could not change with it. 1923 and I should have been in my prime, a prim and proper pedestal that sported every lasted design. But my hips were too big and my posture too stiff and so without a second thought, my draper choose a little boy over me and place me on a shelf. I was up so high, looking down. I was on a pedestal of sorts, but I was not esteemed anymore. Now I was a useless, a nuisance and nothing could be done about it. So I watched other pretty things be made that would never fit me right and I began to sag where I had once been tight. So I sat and I watched and I wondered if I would ever be useful again.
Until one day when someone new came in and saw me up there, sitting alone and dusty, and they asked if I could be set free from the world of trends and fashion and my draper, well he was quite all right with that. So I was brought down and I was disgraced by my appearance, saggy and torn and not quite so stiff as I was in my prime, but this new owner didn’t seem to mind in 1946. I travel away to a place where the sun was brighter and the stars were closer, so close that I could almost touch them. And pretty things were made for the stars on me, things that were from before I was born but that everyone could see. My new draper repaired my skin and gave me a little extra stuff and I was reborn and useful again. And for years beautiful things of the past were fashioned on my body and then worn by the likes of Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn. And they all loved to look like me and wear my beautiful things.
And then I was getting old and they began to call me names: antique, historic, museum-worthy. And it hurt to be called names, but my draper seemed to think these labels fit me just fine, so I was taken away to a new home in 1987, one where drapers did not ever touch me, they only looked at me. I stood naked and still behind a wall of glass and people came from all over to stare at me and take pictures. And I did not like it. Even if they thought I was interested I did not like feeling so old and out of place. No one looked like me anymore and I was useless once again it seemed. And I knew, deep down, that they didn’t care about me at all, or any of the other antiques that surrounded me on every side.
Still, I waited, hoping to be useful again.
One visitor, and I knew this one was different from the rest, didn’t gawk the same way, with mild disinterest, but was excited to see me and I thought we might be old friends. They spoke to my new owner, the one who didn’t ever use me properly, and soon I was being carried away into the year 2014, and I was being used again. But this time, I felt different. The beautiful things were not being made on me, but they had already been made. In fact, I felt as if they had been made for me and I liked that. I had never been dressed so carefully before, and the gowns fit me just right. And they were my friends. They were old and used and antiques like me. We were made for each other. This time, I was guarded by a rope and I was reverently visited. Me and my friends were oh-ed and aw-ed at and respected quite well, like queens of years past that were now legends in history books. And I like this home I live in now, where I am cared for and appreciated and feel treasured somehow, despite my little sags and tears and used skin.
Now I was a star once again.
Can you guess what my object was?