• Richard Lutman

"Patch of Dirt" Some different Writing Exercises


EXERCISES: GOING BACK IN TIME (from a Vermont College seminar)

Going Back to Childhood Pretend you are a video camera—take in everything you see and hear, bring your sense into the picture—taste, touch, smell, and hear the things you are seeing. 1. Play with old toys 2. Walk through rooms. 3. look out the windows 4. What did you pretend to be? 5. What were your dreams and fantasies? 6. What is your first memory?

Time Machine 1. Bring your yonder self from the past to the present and see what you have to say about yourself now. 2. Send your present self into the past 3. Send your present self into the future. 4. Bring a future self here to the present.

Urgent Letters and Unsaid Dialogues Write a letter to an ancestor, to a present person, to someone in the future. Write to a childhood toy, an animal, a place, a fictitious person or thing. Write a letter to yourself from an ancestor, a friend, someone from the future. Use dialogue in the same way—have a conversation with any person you have known or can imagine. Have a conversation with a dream figure, a childhood memory anyone or anything.

Lists Lists can take a problem and make it manageable. They can take a section of time and condense it. Use lists to: 1. Make a table of contents of your life 2. Look at a specific subject. 3. Compare different parts of time

Portraits Write detailed descriptions of people you once knew, or know now. Often what you remember about them will tell you a lot about your own thoughts and feelings. You may find that you have or wish to develop or change traits in yourself that you find particularly noticeable in other people.

Time Compass Pick a memory and write down: 1. The date: 2. The time: 3. The city you’re in: 4. The weather: 5. The location: 6. The situation: 7. What you see: 8. What you feel:


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