Everyday places often provide a backdrop for some of the significant moments of our lives. This activity guides writers to recall moments that played a part in shaping who they have become.
1. Everyday brainstorming ideasThink of yourself sitting at the kitchen table. Take a few moments to recall conversations that have taken place there, including conversations that you may have had with yourself while sitting there doing projects or having breakfast. Then list 3-5 topics of conversations that you feel had an impact on a decision you made, or a direction you took in your life. Perhaps you had a choice to make about an after-school activity or how to help a friend.
2. Select an everyday topic:Review your list and select the conversation that stands out for you today. Then consider which one offers details you can recall, how this conversation affected you and others, and things that make it stand out as memorable. Finally, circle your selection.
3. Develop your everyday thoughts:Close your eyes and take 1-2 minutes to see and hear yourself and the others who were present for this conversation. What was being discussed and how did the conversation flow? Was someone lecturing or were there multiple voices speaking at once? What was the volume of the conversation and what was the tone? Next, no matter how rudimentary (this is not an art assignment!), draw a sketch of yourself and others who were gathered at the table for this conversation. Finally, as in a comic strip, you can add word balloons for snatches of the conversation.
4. Write a draft:Review the information you’ve gathered. Then consider how you might best capture this conversation. Perhaps it’s a letter to your mom recalling this time and telling her how it affected you. Another perspective might be a short story to entertain your peers. Maybe experiment with writing a poem that captures a strong emotion this conversation evoked.
5. Share your draft:If you are comfortable sharing part or all of your writing, talk with a partner. You may want to discuss how you made your decisions along the way, what helped you write, and perhaps ask your partner what questions they have about your piece after you’ve shared.
This post was originally published at Write Across Chicago by Illinois Writing Project.