My son loves brackets. He’ll create a bracket for things alike and unalike. On Monday, he came up with a bracket on things very unalike: breakfast cereal, stinky skunk, Chevy Bel Air, Girl Scout cookies.
What we do is he’ll say “Stinky skunk or Thin Mints?” and I’ll say “Thin Mints.” Thin Mints then advances to the next round. While I was fixing breakfast Monday morning, he was at the computer keeping track of his bracket on a spreadsheet. After we had eaten, he announced that he wanted me to write a paragraph using things from his brackets: cereal, Chevy BelAir, dog (but not ours), stinky skunk, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Brachiasorous, card baseball and three kinds of Girl Scout cookies — Thin Mints, Lemon Ades and Caramel Delights.
I wrote this paragraph:
The stinky skunk and dog sat down on a recent Monday morning to play card baseball. Before playing card baseball, dog got out the Girl Scout cookies – Thin Mints, Caramel Delights and Lemon Ades. Stinky skunk talked about the time he traveled to Ethiopia and Tanzania and said he saw a Brachiasorous. Dog didn’t believe stinky skunk and tossed cereal at him as they made out their lineup. Dog was using the car team and his leadoff batter was Chevy BelAir.
Dog and Stinky Skunk were driving a Chevy BelAir to get Some Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Mints, Carmel DeLights, and Lemon Ades. They made a wrong turn and ended up in Ancient Africa, between modern day Tanzania and Ethiopia, where they encountered a large dinosaur, a Brachiosouraus, they showed Brachiosauros a game they played in 21st Century North America – card Baseball, and ate cereal while they played.
I wrote two more “stories,” each a little more complex than the first one. My son wrote one more.
I love these kinds of exercises. They force the writer to put together ideas in ways that might not normally go together. I’ve had books that daily writing exercises. I took a college course once that used Chris Van Allsburg’s book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick as a starting point. On each page of the book is a picture and a paragraph. The exercise was to write a story about the picture using the paragraph as either the opening paragraph of the story or the last paragraph of the story. If you’re familiar with Van Allburg’s work, his pictures have a surreal effect about them.
What does this post have to do with car-free living or eating a meat-free diet or running? Nothing. But it’s my blog and this is what I wanted to write about tonight. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.