Guidelines taken from The Midnight Train of Thought:
1. Take a Technological Purveyor of Music (such as an iPod) and set it to shuffle.
2. As soon as the first song starts playing, start writing. Don’t put too much thought into the process, and don’t bother trying to force the writing to the song — just let the music carry your pen along.
3. When the song stops playing, stop writing. Don’t edit anything.
Insensatez by Astrud Gilberto (2:48)
Low whispers slip through the trees. The sun is setting– orange, yellow, and deep pink warm the Autumn sky behind these durable, drafty trees.
“I’ll never be able to find him,” Jane says, her voice like a kitten, high-pitched and small.
Jane snaps a branch off the tree and holds a fallen leaf in her hands.
Violin Concerto by Antonio Vivaldi (5:45)
“Where are my diamonds?” Cynthia says to her little sister who is twirling the dog’s tail and giggling.
“I think the boy next door asked me to borrow them for his steam ship. You see, he thinks he’s a pirate.”
Cynthia hates being the oldest sister. She wishes she was an only child at times like this. The dish where she left the diamonds is full of old soap. She scrubs her face with her hands, tears in the water.
Maybe I’m too kind and good to others. Maybe they’re all happy to be brats.
Her other sister, a little older than the first, comes in with a diamond necklace and bracelet, and throws them in her hands.
“You owe me,” she says and walks away without waiting for a reply.
Follow Me by John Denver (2:56)
Wheat fields drip with rain, the whole place believing that there’s something more than this world.
“I can’t be here without the thought of something better,” the farmer says.
“It’s like I need a crystal ball, but even that would be pointless. What’s the use in knowing what’s going to happen if it’s not going to be how I want it?”
Flower – Richard Stoltzman (5:04)
How many bubbles floated there, Emily could not count. She watched them carry their rainbows and then break on the rose bushes, those sharp thorns, good for crushing dreams.
How can I behave more like a lady? Emily asked God.
I think if we could enter those bubbles we’d find out that they’re disappointing. No desire for eternity.
I want to be a god, Emily scrunches her nose. No, too much responsibility and no room for simple following.
I quite like being Emily, I would say.
For another writing exercise, please check out the post, Through A Character’s Eyes.