An Object Exercise for Prose Writers

Thanks to a friend, my wife Cathy now has a new hairstyle. It’s short and spiky just like this post is going to be.

This is a writing activity for those who write memoir. Recall a time in your life when you acquired something new. Maybe it was a hairstyle, or a fashion, or maybe you bought a car, a house, a dog. Describe the object and what was going on in your life at the time you purchased or adopted it. Think about why you wanted the object at the time. Then consider what owning that object says about you and this time of your life. Were you in some way in need of remaking yourself? Or were you trying to be the person someone else wanted you to be? Or were you deliberately setting out on a new path? What do you know now, as you look back on that object, that you didn’t know then?

I imagine this exercise might work for fiction writers, too if they substitute one of their characters for the first-person narrator of memoir.

Naturally, the things we own say so much about us. Use this object exercise to look more fully at a period from your life, or the life of one of your characters.

By the way, I think Cathy’s new hairstyle is fab.

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