After it had rained for 24 hours, the temperature here began to drop. Today, the sun is brilliant, and a gentle breeze rustles through the silver grasses that line the edge of my pond. It is 60° outside, and even inside, I need to wear a flannel shirt. Flannel shirts make me feel cozy in fall.
Yesterday, I wrote that I am learning a great deal from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. Today, I want to share with you a way that Wilder created a feeling of coziness in her writing:
“The fire in the cookstove never went out. At night Pa banked it with ashes to keep the coals alive till morning.
“The attic was a lovely place to play. The large round, colored pumpkins made beautiful chairs and tables. The red peppers and the onions dangled overhead. The hams and the venison hung in their paper wrappings, and all the bunches of dried herbs, the spicy herbs for cooking and the bitter herbs for medicine gave the place a dusty-spicy smell.
“Often the wind howled outside with a cold and lonesome sound. But in the attic Laura and Mary played house with the squashes and the pumpkins, and everything was snug and cosy.” Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods, p. 19.
Yesterday, I also wrote that I have committed to keeping a writer’s notebook. I said that I am deliberately keeping my entries short. The first words of this post are my notebook entry for the day. I have made a commitment to carry a small notebook with me everywhere I go and to spend about ten minutes a day looking at my world. Then, in just a few, basic words, I am going to record what is before my eyes.
I may or may not elaborate on my initial few words later, but my challenge for myself is to do one thing each day: look carefully around myself for ten minutes and record what I see. Why don’t you take the daily notebook challenge, too?
The Writer’s Notebook Daily Challenge:
Go outside, look carefully for ten minutes, and in a few words, record what you see.
I have several reasons for setting time and word limits.
- All of us are busy and when our notebook exercises are short, we will be more inclined to follow through with them.
- As writers, we sometimes engage in wordplay that becomes too mental and abstract. I believe that an exercise that requires close observation and a few honest words about what we actually see, smell, hear, touch, etc., is a good way to pull us back into writing that is more immediate and concrete
©Jacki Kellum October 10, 2016