Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, September 4, 2009

A new exercise

Everyday, in my attempt to broaden my vocabulary for various purposes, including Scrabble, I look at new and intriguing words. They're intriguing because some of them can hold an entire concept within those few letters stringed together to form them. They're also intriguing because they open my eyes to the worlds I never think about.

Since I forget most of these words as soon as I'm done reading their definitions, I've decided to take these new words and do something with them that will either make them stick, or at least drive me to challenge myself into using them in a sentence. I've been doing this for a few days now, this use of new words in sentences, and have found that if there ever was a writing prompt that doesn't make me think "I'll pass," this is it.

I get regular words of the day, as well as Scrabble words of the day. Here is today's Scrabble word of the day: Veery, a thrush common in the eastern and northern US, noted for its song.

And here is what it prompted me to write:

Henry sat on the porch of his colonial-style home, with its columns and french windows framing him like a king on his throne. He sat quietly, listening. There were many bird songs filling the moist morning air, but one song carried to Henry's ears, and he quickly brought the binoculars he kept on a side table to his eyes. In the years since his retirement from the police force, Henry's interest in birds grew from a hobby practiced on weekends into a way to keep his mind occupied and the giant house he lived in alone with a live-in maid.

With a squint followed by a smile Henry confirmed that the song of the thrush he'd heard was indeed that of a veery, just as he'd suspected. The bird lingered, staying put despite the breeze swaying the lilac bush. A smile tugged at the harsh line of Henry's thin lips and lit up his pockmarked face. He now knew what his column for Birds Magazine would be about.


So, with just one word, I created a character, gave him a name, a past, a present, and a future. Who knows where Henry will go from here, or if he'll go anywhere at all. Point is, Henry now exists, thanks to a little thrush, a veery!

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

What a great exercise! :)