It’s been awhile since I’ve done a timed writing exercise. I had just enough coffee in me this morning to want to do one from the book A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words: Image Drive Story Prompts and Exercises for Writers. This is a great writing prompt book because it has photos in it and, if you’re going to use tarot cards for writing, it’s a good book for getting familiar with using images for your writing brainstorming and practice.
If you’re a writer or want to be a writer, I highly encourage writing exercises. Think of them as the kind of exercises musicians do to strengthen their fingers or as warm-ups before you workout. The brain is a muscle too and it needs to be warmed up before a writing session and also kept supple and strong.
I don’t do them nearly enough, I’m afraid, which should be every day. Anyway, here’s the one I did this morning.
I met her at the corner of 12th and Ogden. Clouds billowed blue, gray and black above the brick and stone house on the hill above me. She lived in that house with her parents. They rarely let her leave it.
As she approached, I could see why. She was blindfolded. I kept expecting her to reach out with her hands to feel her way down the steps from her house to the street. But she walked, surefooted, her head up. Her hair was a dark red, almost the color of dried blood. She wore a blue dress and black sandals. Her toes were painted the same color as her hair. Her blindfold was blue, like her dress.
Once she reached the bottom step she stopped and turned her head to and fro as if searching for something. I wondered if she was going to remove the blindfold. She didn’t. Then she called my name. I walked over to her. Hi, I said. Have you been waiting long? she asked. I shoved my hands into the front pockets of my jean. I’d been waiting an hour but I didn’t want her to know that. No, not long, I said. Her lips thinned and I had a sneaky feeling she knew I was lying.
Now that she was closer I saw that her blindfold was made of some kind of shiny fabric. Silk, I think. If it was silk, then her parents were even richer than I thought. Silk was hard to come by these days. Shall we go? she said. Okay, I said. I was about to take her hand to slip it on my arm so I could help down the street, but she brusquely waved my hand away. I know how to get there, she said.
We walked down the street, not touching. The top of her head barely reached my shoulder and I’m not that tall. Most of the people we passed barely glanced at her. They must know her, I thought. But once we left her neighborhood and entered the center of town, more and more people stared at her. I wondered if she sensed it somehow. We’re here, she said.
I looked over at the entrance. Eight swords at cross angles to each other were painted on the glass of the front door. You sure you want to go in here, I asked. She said yes, of course. Why not, she added. I shrugged then realized she probably couldn’t see it. I don’t know, I said. Isn’t it kinda pricey? I’d never been in the Vengeful Eight, but I’d heard it was pretty exclusive. Plus I only had so much tin in my pocket. I’d plan on taking her to the Jack of all Trades coffee shop just down the street. I had a friend who worked there and he always knocked a few coppers off as a favor to me.
I want to go here, she said firmly. She opened the door and went inside. I had no choice but to follow. It was so dark inside I might as well have been blindfolded too. Then I stopped. Everyone inside, except for me, was wearing blindfolds.