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Outside Writing Group 3-10-15
Details details details: This exercise emerges from the chapter “The truth is in the details” in A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves (note that we spent less time writing version 2 than version 1):
Read over what you wrote today or read something that you brought with you. Underline the five senses: smells, tastes, sounds, sights, touch (or texture). Change “generic” words to more specific ones: “Car” might become a blue 2011 Toyota Camry. “Tree” might become pine. “Flower” might become a yellow carnation. “He was happy” might become “He laughed out loud (15 min).


Version 1
The sunshine the breeze it almost feels like spring. It is wondrous and beautiful. I am in absolute awe of it all. I sit by my window and feel the fresh air enter my lungs. I can breathe. It feels good. I imagine the pink blues and purple sunsets coming off the lake as it sparkles and glistens. This helps me to feel free like a wanderer that needs an escape into privacy. I picture myself on an island eating coconuts and sunbathing while I hear the waves coming in and going out. I believe I am truly at peace here which I enjoy tremendously. It is as though I have everything I need right there on this island of solitude and I count my many blessings thanking God for this earth with much gratitude.

Version 2
I am sitting on the beach on a deserted island eating delectable coconut which are very rich in taste. They are yummy. The sun is shining. I can hear the whisper of the trees blowing in the breeze. I am also listening to the sound of the waves coming in and going out. The ocean sparkles like shiny little glistening stars. It is unique and beautiful all on its own. It is awe inspiring and I smile at the thought of it all. It completely takes my breath away. It is so amazing that I laugh out loud with happiness.


Version 1
Don’t ask me what happened
I don’t want to tell it over again.
Why can’t people just let me accept it and then let it end?
Don’t ask me what’s wrong.
I’m letting things work
I don’t have to live my life looking at the things that cause hurt.
Don’t ask me to do what I physically can’t
It’s not fair to make me feel bad if I say no to something
I shouldn’t have to hurt
because I don’t want you to talk to me like I’m dirt.
Don’t ask me to give you the few things I might have
I’m not rich I am poor
If I run out I can’t get more.

Version 2
I’m going to ask: Please don’t ask me what happened today. So many people have already asked. It seems each person asks the same question and gets miffed if I say I don’t want to repeat it again. Why does each person need to know the scoop? Why can’t I have the right to be respected when I just say I don’t want to talk about that?

Then they wonder why or bad mouth me cause I stay in crisis when they keep making me talk about it so every stinking time I calm down I get steamed up and relive it and have to deal with it again.

It’s not like they’re going to help with the situation or solve the problem. They aren’t going to advocate or support me. All they want is to hear the scoop and maybe add some drama then tell me how sorry they are and how they wish they could do something but times up they have something else to do.


Version 1
This winter because it was so cold, I spent so much time trying to figure out layers: long johns, thermal shirts, sweaters. Oh so many sweaters, none of which satisfy. I have been to Goodwill more times than I can name looking for the right sweater: hooded, long, wool or cotton. But I was still so cold, even with warm coats and headbands (two of which I’ve subsequently lost; now I have only one.)

One day I visited Goodwill and bought two scarves. I still have them and I got a trench coat – lined – for six dollars. Still cold. One day a friend looked at my feet as I struggled my boots on. I was wearing anklets. Thin ones. They are comfortable and allow my boots to slip on easily.

“Girl, you need some knee socks,” she said. I looked at her. My calves are kind of big so knee socks are bound to become calf socks but I got her meaning. I coincidentally went to visit another friend who was giving away socks. She had been to Cabot’s annual sock sale. I asked if she had nee socks. She did and gave me two pair. I tried to pay her for one. I know that, sale or no sale, those socks are a pretty price. But she refused and gave me two pair. They are soft as rabbits – plush, luxurious in colors I would not dream of buying for myself: beige and red, blue and brown. I wear them all the time; when going out, in bed, around the house. I have 20 or more pairs of socks in a plastic bin and I wear two pair. The ones my friend gave me.

Version 2
“Girl, you need some knee socks,” she said, frowning at my feet. I looked at her. My calves are thick, meaty. Any so-called knee socks I have ever worn have only stretched as far as mid-calf and are very tight.

When I visited a friend later, coincidentally, she had just bought bags of socks at the Cabot annual sock sale. Anklets of green, purple, beige, blue and yes knee socks! She gave me two pair and would not let me pay her for them.

They are soft as rabbits, plush beige and brown; thick green blue and black; they have wide tops that reach beyond my calves. I wear them all the time.

. . . and you?

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