Expressing our ideas (creativity exercise)

Laurie_Halse_Anderson_

On a few occasions I wrote here on the blog, about the importance of using our own voice and our own words to deliver authenticity in  writing. Well, quite the same comes when we want to express, define or articulate our ideas. In my last post I emphasized that the best originality and authenticity comes from our own interpretation of an idea and that can determine its creative potential and inventiveness.

So, today I’m  proposing a little bit different approach: instead of working on your own ideas, let’s take one idea you heard about or read about in the last 72 hours, but one that you really liked and admired.

Now, try to express that idea in your own words, but use something that Ken Macrorie defined as  a ‘kitchen language’: the language you would use while you are comfy on a Sunday morning, being lazy in your pajamas, when you don’t think about anything – you are just you, being relaxed at home with your coffee, simple and uncensored. You don’t have to impress anyone, or watch your words. It’s your language but not something you would usually use to make your point about something.

Once you have set your ‘comfy’ mood, using your ‘kitchen language’ write a poem about that idea you heard. It’s interesting what might come up, but that’s the point – for you to get comfortable in your own skin and your language while expressing and discussing something you really care about.

Of course being comfy and accustomed to ordinary can have its own hinders. Our everyday life can make our thoughts and words too ordinary, repetitive, and actually can reduce our richness of language and vocabulary. For the second exercise I suggest you do something quite the opposite: imagine you are 5. And you might still don’t know how to pronounce all the words – invent new ones and express that beautiful idea that captured your attention. Wake up that sleepy child inside of you and tell your story about that idea like a 5 year old would – in a form of a cute poem. We know at times children make memorable, funny statements. But as we all progress to school sometimes our language become emptier and lifeless. Well, this exercise is an attempt to fight this and experience that unforgettable writing, with all the giggles it might carry.

These exercises can dramatically shift our thinking patterns, but what will emerge with time is your unique view and interpretation of the world: one that you want to fully accept, embrace and enjoy.

Give it a try and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Be glad your nose is on your face,

not pasted on some other place,

for if it were where it is not,

you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose

were sandwiched in between your toes,

that clearly would not be a treat,

for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread

were it attached atop your head,

it soon would drive you to despair,

forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be

an absolute catastrophe,

for when you were obliged to sneeze,

your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,

remains between your eyes and chin,

not pasted on some other place–

be glad your nose is on your face!

Jack Prelutsky

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