Choose one of the following exercises to do.

PART TWO: Drafting a Scene.
Choose one of the following exercises to do. The exercises below will help you articulate details vividly, concisely, intensely, and persuasively—useful for a variety of situations and other classes. Choose ONE of the following to do in about 200 words (for extra credit, you may do more than one).
One: Character by Indirection
Describe a person who exemplifies home for you by describing any place inhabited or frequented by that character—a room, house, garden, office, studio, bed, whatever (the person isn’t present at the time.) Give a sense of his / her personality simply by describing the stuff in the room occupied by the person. Use all five of your senses—touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight—and be as specific as possible. Use metonymic details that are telling and revealing. Don’t simply mention that there is a comforter on the bed, for example. What kind of comforter? Hello Kitty? Transformer? Navy blue with gold spirals?
Two: The Untold Event
Give us a glimpse of the mood and nature of some event or deed involved in your personal definition about home by describing the place—room, rooftop, street, park, landscape, whatever—where it happened or is about to happen. (The event or deed doesn’t happen in your piece).
You aren’t to say anything directly about the person, or the event, which is in fact the subject of the piece. This is the stage without the actors on it; this is the camera panning before the action starts. And this kind of suggestion is something words can do better than any other medium, even film.
Use any “props” you like—furniture, clothes, belongings, weather, climate, a period in history, plants, rocks, smells, sounds, anything. Work the pathetic fallacy for all it’s worth. Focus on any item or detail that reveals the character, or that suggests what happens or will happen. Remember this is a narrative device, part of a story. Everything you describe is there in order to build up into a consistent, coherent mood or atmosphere, from which we can infer, or glimpse, or intuit, the absent person or the untold act. A mere inventory of articles won’t do it, and will bore the reader. Every detail must tell. Give a thought from time to time to the senses other than sight. Sound, above all, is evocative.
Three: GOING WILD: Write a descriiptive paragraph about home that’s meant to be read aloud. This could involve, say, a descriiption of a person or thing, a piece of music that has meant a lot to you, or a scent or taste that evokes a strong and specific memory, a moment in an important turning point in your life, or your first memory. Use metonymy, diction, onomatopoeia, metaphor, synesthesia, alliteration, metonymy, rhythmic effects, made-up words or names, dialect—any kind of sound-effect you like—but NOT rhyme or meter. Include at least three repetitions of a noun, verb, or adjective (a noticeable word, not an invisible one like “was,” “said,” “did”), or phrase for dramatic effect to convey the overall meaning behind the song, sense memory, or turning point (such as Didion’s use of “dust,” the repetition of “key” in “Under the Influence,” or anaphora in “More Room”). Go wild. If home is a book, show us what happens when you go there. If home is your mind, tells us about the rooms. (Read Keats’s “Ode to Psyche” for inspiration.)
Four: IN THE DARK: Imagine home as if it suddenly went dark. What do you smell, hear, feel, taste? Write a passage bringing this scene to life through sensory descriiption. Since vision is limited, you’ll have to rely on hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Let the reader physically experience home through these senses. Are you in the kitchen hours after the last meal of the day? Is the electricity out? Are you awake in the dark as a young child? What taste is in your mouth? How does the carpet feel under your feet, a blanket? If home is a book, how does it smell, sound beneath your waiting fingers? What vivid sensations and scenes does it conjure up in your mind? If home is a pet, how do you find him/her in the dark? If home is a neighborhood, what vivid experiences can you have when all the streetlights are out and the sky is utterly dark in an impending storm? Or if it is a subway, what do you experience when the train stops–and all lights go out? If home is your imagination, what happens when you sleep?
Five: TOUCHING, SMELLING: Imagine you are back in time in the midst of the memory about home you are recounting and describe what is happening, using as many details as possible. Some things you might consider: What can you see in the rest of the room or outdoor scene in which you are standing? Of if home is an object or song or animal or something else, describe that with vivid detail. What can you hear—breathing, shuffling, car horns, music, stereos, etc? What does the room smell like? What taste do you have in your mouth? How are you feeling today? How do your clothes feel—stiff from sweat, dirty, greasy, fresh and clean?
And your surroundings—is the room warm? Is the carpet underneath your bare feet scratchy? What do you smell like? What have you used on your teeth, your neck and face? Are you hungry? Feeling safe? Tired? Wound up? Too occupied to notice? Is your food not digesting properly? Do you have to use the loo? What do you want right now—toys, water, a way out, amusement, sleep? Are you annoyed and generally irritable, or in a good humor today?

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