Articles for Teachers
1) Hand each person a lollipop. Using the five senses describe the sucker. What sound does the wrapper make as it is torn off? How does the candy smell? What does the stick and sucker feel like--smooth, sticky? What does the candy look like? Does its shape remind you of anything other than candy? And finally what does it take like? Use metaphor and similes to get the most from this assignment.
2) Hold your pen or pencil above a blank page and without lifting your writing instrument, begin to draw an abstract. Keep your hand moving continually for two minutes. Now write about what you drew--Is it chaos? Is there a recognizable picture in it? Does it remind you of anything? Use the picture or part of the picture or what you think it represents in a story or a poem.
3) Look at a magazine advertisement. Write the backstory for the character or product in the ad. How did the product or she or he get there? What were they doing? What are they going to do next? What does the person or product desire? (This exercise reminds us that a story is behind everything and everyone. Nothing is in isolation in this world.)
4) Look at a part of your body. Write a visual description of it. Do not limit yourself to what you actually see--but what is underneath it? How does it work? If it could talk, what would it say? How does it like to be used or treated?
5) What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite food--it must be more than because it tastes good. Plenty of things taste good but you wouldn't call them your favorite. Write an ode to that food and to the memories that food conjuries in your mind.
Jill L. Ferguson is the author of Sometimes Art Can't Save You, a novel published by In Your Face Ink LLC http://www.inyourfaceink.com. Over 600 of Jill's articles, essays and poems have appeared in magazines, newspapers, journals and online. When she isn't writing or speaking about writing at conferences and workshops, she chairs the General Education Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and teaches literature and creative writing classes.