Sanibel Writing Conference Exercises Two

Another early start to the day at the Sanibel Writing Conferencemore time for writing exercises with John Dufresne.IMAG3705Writing Exercise 1: List of Frail Things (Derived from The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon

Old people, children, stained glass window, eyes, bones, atmosphere, ice, wings, egos, sleep, understanding, eggs, music.

IMAG3708Writing Exercise 2: Start a piece with “It was a dark and stormy night”:

It was a dark and stormy night, just the beginning. I was glad for it. We wouldn’t have to leave. We wouldn’t have to do anything but watch the windows buffet, the rain tear sideways at the tops of the trees and police car driving slowly around.

“What time is it?”  Valerie looked tiny in the door.

“What does it matter?”

IMAG3689Writing Exercise 3. “Everything is broken”

“Everything is broken.”

She stepped onto the cement ledge and pulled out her Sponge Bob alarm clock. “Not everything.”

“Ruined.” I stared out, the trees hanging low over the lone sloped-down wall, the window twisted down, looking at the ground.

She grabbed onto a board and climbed onto the pile.

It came over in a nauseous wave, suddenly up from her stomach and lungs. I was going to throw up. “Get down from there!” 

IMAG3702Writing Exercise 4. Getting a terrible diagnosis:

She waited on the line. Steely Dan. That’s who it was; she had never liked that song.



“It’s what we were afraid of.”

She pressed her finger against the table, watched it go white and flat. She wondered how far back she could get it. The bone wouldn’t break. “Is there a treatment?”

“Bring him in the morning.”

“Thank you.” She didn’t remember hanging up or sitting, but she had his head in her lap and stroked his neck and shoulder. She hated how vulnerable he made himself. She squeezed him harder than she wanted. He looked up at that.