“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

How Everyday Objects Can Help You Write Better Stories

In my last post I talked about the writer’s retreat I attended recently taught by Wild author Cheryl Strayed.  I learned so much about writing stories from hearing her speak, including how to lean into subjectivity, and I plan to share as much with you as possible.

Today’s Lesson from Cheryl Strayed: How to use everyday objects to imbue your stories with meaning.

How Everyday Objects Can Help You Write Better Stories

Imbuing Everday Objects with Meaning

Objects, Cheryl said, can serve as powerful literary tools.  Anything can become sacred if you imbue it with meaning.

For example, at the retreat Cheryl read a passage from a book (I can’t remember the name unfortunately) where the narrator describes his nostalgia toward a peach tree at his grandmother’s house.

But really what he was doing was telling the reader how he felt about his grandmother without saying it outright.

Everyday Objects Allow You to Create Symbols

Objects or talisman can allow you to tell the reader something that you don’t want to just come out and say.  It’s a way to sort of subconsciously tell your reader how you feel about something.

But it doesn’t always have to be that deep—sometimes you may highlight a specific object to do something as simple as symbolize the passage of time.  For example, in Wild, her toe nails (which she kept losing on the trail) did this work.

The key is to treat important objects with the same care that you treat your characters.  In other words, bring the same level of consciousness to it. Why are you using the details you are using to describe it?  What is the object’s narrative arc?

The Meaning of Cheryl Strayed’s Backpack in Wild

In case you don’t know, Wild is about a hike Cheryl takes while reeling from her mother’s death and her divorce from her husband.

At the retreat, Cheryl talked about a scene in the book where, after packing a backpack that’s literally bigger than she is, she can’t pick it up.  She can’t lift it.  But she has to lift it because she needs everything in it.

It was a funny scene, Cheryl said, but also an important one because it symbolized what her hike was about: figuring out how to bear what she could not bear. The backpack symbolized all of the emotional baggage she was carrying. She couldn’t carry the weight of her mother’s death, and yet she had to.

How Will YOU Use Everyday Objects in Your Writing

During the retreat, I internalized the amazing fact that Cheryl wrote a literary story about her own life.  She used literary devices such as symbolism, but the symbols actually existed.  There is something powerful about that.   The idea of viewing your own life through a literary lens.  It made me want to write a personal essay or something just to see what I could discover.

I was also inspired by this lesson to work on my fiction.  There are definitely objects in my novel that reflect the current state of my characters.  The retreat moved me to go back to those scenes and use them to further explain some of the emotions I want to convey to the reader.

What everyday objects in your life have meaning? Think about it and let us know in the comments section.

PRACTICE

Cheryl gave us three prompts related to this topic and I encourage you to take fifteen minutes to write about any of them:

  1. Write the story about an object or talisman on your body.
  2. Write about an object that was once ordinary but accrued meaning over time.
  3. Write about an object that used to mean something but doesn’t anymore.

When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section.

Happy writing!

About Monica M. Clark

Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).

  • Gary G Little

    Just two simple bands. One a little over three eights inch wide and three quarter inch in diameter. The other smaller to fit a smaller hand. Both fourteen karat gold. No stones, no engravings, no etchings, just simple gold bands.

    I remember when we bought them, though I don’t remember where. We had talked about it, and from the first she insisted on just simple gold bands, wider than normal. No stones. Just two wide gold bands. She was trying to duplicate the bands of her grandparents, which was fine with me. What was important to me, was that she had what she wanted.

    I remember the day we put them on. It was the single most memorable day of my life, the day I said, “I do”, to the lady that would give meaning to my life for the next twenty years. I remember my brother handing the band to me and slipping it on her finger. I remember her slipping my band on my finger.

    I remember the clerk at Caesars Palace in Reno asking “Just married?”, and then smiling as she explained she could tell because the rings were both shiny and new. I remember the years passing and the bands becoming scratched and dull, but that band never left my finger.

    I wore that band at her memorial service. I wore that band when I scattered her ashes on her Aunt’s land in Texas. I wore that band for two more years, until one day I realized that she would want me to move on. On that day, I pulled that band off and placed it in a drawer.

    • 709writer

      My heart aches for you. The love you shared with your wife is evident from what you said. I pray that God gives you peace and comfort. Thank you for sharing.

    • Powerful story. A true imbue.

    • I definitely feel the meaning tied to the bands. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    • Kat

      Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

    • A sweet, beautiful, story that will stay with me. Peace be with you, my friend.

  • 709writer

    Shadow waved away dust. It drifted out of the attic window and the outside breeze carried it away. He leaned out the window to gaze up at the sky. So bright and blue it made him squint, the world above was cloudless.

    He pulled back inside and turned to the tan toolbox before him. This was the last one. He and Rouge had dumped everything out of the other two with no luck. If he didn’t find his wrench in this toolbox, it was gone.

    Muttering under his breath, he lifted the old metal lid on the toolbox and pushed it back. Multiple screwdrivers, nuts and bolts, and spare parts sat dusty and neglected. He began to dig around for the wrench. Maybe it was at the bottom.

    “Hey,” Rouge’s voice called from the bottom of the attic staircase. “Lunch is ready. You’ve been at it all morning—why don’t you take a break?”

    He started taking tools out of the box and setting them on the attic floor. “I’ll be down in a minute. I just want to check this last box.”

    After removing every screwdriver and spare part, he stared at the bottom of the toolbox. Nothing. Nothing but screws, nails, and a piece of white paper underneath.

    He was about to disregard it, but then he wondered if the paper was a schematic that went with one of the machines in the lab. Shadow lifted the paper and turned it over.

    Something inside him squeezed.

    A photo of he and Maria.

    Nearly a year and a half ago, when she had passed, he would have tossed this into a fire and never let Maria enter his mind again.

    But now he gazed at the picture of his friend. She was smiling, her sapphire blue eyes holding a twinkle. Memories washed over him. The picture had been snapped right after a game of pictionary—Maria had teamed up with Shadow to challenge the professor and one of his interns.

    A smile came to Shadow’s face. He and Maria had won that game.

    The smile faded. To think that the professor had just taken this picture after they all played a simple board game. Then, it was only a picture.

    Now, it was a memory frozen in time. Shadow gazed at it and he was there, sitting at the wooden dining room table, the scent of roasted turkey still in the air from their dinner before the game.

    Rouge spoke from behind him. “Julia’s back. She brought some lovely daisies to put on the table.”

    Shadow opened his eyes. He hadn’t realized he had closed them. After placing the picture of Maria in the bottom of the toolbox, he walked toward the attic door, where Rouge stood.

    “Couldn’t find it,” he said as they headed down the stairs.

    His friend waved her hand. “It’s around here.” She smirked at him. “You have to stop misplacing things.”

    Shadow offered a grin.

    When they entered the kitchen, there Julia was, trimming the ends off the bright daisies Rouge had mentioned.

    Julia turned and smiled at Shadow. “Hey. Look what I found.” She held up a few of the daisies.

    “Pretty. I’ll find a vase for you to put them in.” He moved to one of the cupboards. The picture in the toolbox rose in his mind again while he searched for a vase, bringing with it both brighter and darker memories.

    But as he watched Julia, who chatted away with Rouge while the two of them cut back the daisies, he smiled.

    Maria’s soft words from the past filled his mind. “Promise me…that you’ll help people…and be friends with them…”

    This was reality—she was gone. But Julia was here.

    And with everything inside him, he would fulfill Maria’s wish.

    In a way this reflected the way I feel about the photos I have of my grandfather, who has been gone for four years now. Before he died, the pictures I had of him were only that–pictures. After he passed away, those pictures became memories of him that I could see with my eyes and remember the good times that I had with him.

    I would really appreciate comments/feedback on the scene. Did anything Shadow
    did/thought seem fake? Does anyone have suggestions on how to add more
    sensory details to the environment and the narrative? Thank you! : )

    • Gary G Little

      Excellent. Searching for a wrench and finding a ‘membrance. Nothing about that is false. Totally believable. I still go through paperwork and have “uh oh” moments.

      • 709writer

        Thank you. : )

    • Kat

      There were several lines of nice description. I liked dust drifting out the window, the picture in his mind bringing brighter and darker memories and with everything inside him he would fulfill her wish to name several.

      I think the story might have more emotional punch if it could be tightened up a bit by removing some of the stuff that isn’t central to the main theme. Just a thought.

      Thanks for sharing.

      • 709writer

        Thanks for the feedback, Kat! : )

  • Sandra Nachlinger

    Another excellent article. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information.

    • Thanks! And thanks Cheryl Strayed 😉

  • I may have to continue this:

    These old sun washed blue jeans with stretching rips and holes from slip sliding in the streets. I don’t think they would fit anyone else, even though i’m not an odd size. I bought them new when they were solid as a board raw denim like a drum tight canvas that would almost stand by it’s self. I bought them two sizes down because they stretch and breath to your waist. With a matte cake of dirt and a layer from split beers, The closest thing to a wash they got in the past 5 years was a sudden rain storm I had been caught in. They were mine and my signature of ownership was the light bloodstains and grime on my left hip. Back and front pocket holes that wouldn’t hold a penny. They were there with me through all of my early twenty’s. When I look at them now, I remember a youthful me slipping out the back of a bar dumb drunk downtown when my ex-girlfriends muscle brother was hunting me and catching my belt loop on the fence and ripping it off. The sparkles of old sand in the back pockets when took acid in white sands, new mexico and time traveled to mars. The stories they were apart seem so long ago, my one relic of my old crazy party days.

    Today I saw them folded and opened them up, looked at all the little fraying reminders then refolded to stow. I slipped on some overalls and drove off to work at the local high school. I waxed a vacant chemistry class floor and rubbed some windows transparent. Pushing my wash bucket as a ghost unnoticed, I slipped through the bustle of mingling teenagers between classes. I heard murmurs of delinquency through the crowd and future beauties gazing at their sweethearts. I saw so many stiff new blue jeans just starting to break in.

    • Ruth

      This is beautifully written. I think we all have a favorite garment we cannot part with which is dusted with memories. I like “the closest thing to a wash was a sudden rain storm.” These are the memories to share with a family member one day. Thanks for sharing this.

    • This is great! I think this is exactly what Cheryl was talking about. It’s so interesting how these seemingly meaningless object can symbolize an entire period of our lives.

      • Agreed, I love trying to make simple “overlooked” objects hold a story. This was a great post, Thanks for creating this practice!

    • 709writer

      Really interesting. The last line made me think that everyone else with stiff new jeans would experience their own stories, as well. Thanks for sharing. : )

    • Kat

      I really enjoyed your story and your writing style. I loved the last line!
      Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re story has a nice, easy going flow to it, full of color and movement. I find it captivating with its own kind of charm.

  • Ruth

    I always looked for that coffee mug when I visited her. It was hand thrown pottery and in the warmest shades of brown. It seemed to fit my hand just right and the handle always remained cool even when the coffee inside was scalding hot. I must have told her how much I enjoyed it because one day it appeared in my mailbox, carefully gift-wrapped and addressed to me.
    I had many different mugs for coffee but I continued to be drawn to that one. It held so many memories from my visits to Colorado and our coffee time in the patio watching the sunrise over snow-capped mountains.
    Then one warm spring day, five years ago, my sister lost her battle with cancer. She left behind countless memories, all precious and uplifting, but the void still lingers. Now the coffee mug is more comfort than ever before. It is one small connection to her I still cling to. The coffee is as rich and satisfying as her indomitable spirit, the handle as cool and disciplined as her self-control. I like to think she is with me and loving the moment.

    • Kat

      I think this is a nicely crafted story. It’s interesting how it’s the little things that remind us of a lost loved one and nice that you can enjoy memories of her during ordinary ‘havin a cup a coffee’ times. I loved the way you described her spirit compared to the coffee and the handle. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Just wanted to say my husband and I watched The Wild this weekend and OMG! Loved it. I’ve ordered Cheryl Strayed memoir and can’t wait to read her story. Thanks for turning me onto it. I really did enjoy the symbolism of her backpack and how her load lightened on her journey as she forgave herself for the past.

    • Yeah she’s great. I also recommend er essays: love of my life and heroin/e. Amazing writing.

      • COOL! I’m so impressed/jealous you got to see her speak in person. I’m guessing she’s AWESOME!

  • S.E. Hood

    A semi-true story…

    When you think of a prized possession, a sports car or expensive piece of jewelry may come to mind. My grandpa’s was a pair of scissors.

    Every time we were at his house, he’d take me to his room, open the top drawer, and take the scissors from their resting place beneath the underwear and hankies. “These scissors belonged to my grandfather,” he would say, carefully snipping patterns through the air, their heavy steel blades still sharper than most new pairs you could buy at the store. “They don’t make ’em like they used to,” he would add before returning them to the drawer.

    When he died, I inherited the scissors along with a World War II-era photograph of him in his Marine uniform. Carefully, I cut his outline from the photo and placed it at the center of a collage-like arrangement of family photos–perhaps it was a rash thing to do, but it seemed right and I don’t regret it. The heavy scissors cut perfectly, almost as though his hand, not mine, were guiding them.

    I still use them occasionally, after all they don’t make ’em like they used to. When I’m not using them, they rest in my top drawer, beneath the underwear and hankies.

    • love it! Thanks for sharing

    • Kat

      I enjoyed your story. It was nice and tight while also giving enough detail to be interesting. I liked the last line especially about them being stored in the same place your grandfather stored them.

  • When I was a small boy my father gave me a shoe horn. I don’t remember how old I was, but I try to figure this out by context clues. I remember the house we lived in – a farmhouse on the plains of the Panhandle of Texas. My bedroom, which I shared with my older brother, was upstairs. We left there when I was nine, so I must have been eight. I don’t recall why he gave it to me, or if there was a reason. It’s possible that I had a shoe to put on, and he told me to keep it after allowing me to use it. I don’t even remember if I owned any shoes that it would be useful for.

    I put that shoe horn in the upper left-hand drawer of my dresser. Or the left side; I don’t remember the dresser exactly so there might have only been one column of drawers. From that house we moved into the house vacated by my grandmother when she died. That one was in the backyard of a larger home. And, it only had one room. Not one bedroom – one room. That’s an exaggeration, perhaps. To be honest, you walked into the kitchen, to the left was the living room, then there was a bathroom and a walk-in closet. Almost everything we owned was in the garage. The spinet piano was right by the garage door so when my older sister came to visit she could pull the door up and play.

    From there we lived in many, many houses. One thing I never learned was to keep house. I don’t know why this was. Perhaps my mother was tired of raising kids after so many had left the nest. I am the seventh of her eight children. I think it had a lot to do with my father, now that I look back on it. There were stacks of things. Things. Mail, magazines, papers of all varieties, just sitting in stacks. They were next to the door; on the table where we ate. They were on the dashboard of his truck and filled the floorboard and seat. Stuff. My my bedroom generally reflected this habit. One could rarely see the floor of my bedroom and I never made the bed. Ever. Okay, maybe when I washed the sheets, which was rare. But, that was it.

    After having my own place on and off, I tended to keep public rooms tidy. I learned to keep the kitchens clean from having roommates, and the living rooms. I didn’t spend much time in the living rooms anyway. I didn’t spend much time at home at all, for that matter. I don’t know if I was avoiding the mess, or if it was a mess because I couldn’t stand to be there.

    But, then there’s that shoe horn. No matter where I lived from the time my father gave it to me, it has been in the top drawer of my dresser on the left-hand side. I always know where to find the shoe horn if I need to put a shoe on. Generally, I wear tennis shoes and it doesn’t matter, but if I have a dress shoe, I always know where to go. I have lost things in moves, valuable things, personal things. Lists of names of ancestors, pictures, a leather mask that I bought in Costa Rica when I was visiting my brother.

    But, always the shoe horn is in the top drawer of my dresser on the left hand side. I’m now forty-five years old, so that’s over thirty years of keeping track of a seemingly unnecessary item. It’s old; it’s rusty a little bit. It certainly doesn’t shine, but it’s not rough when I use it. The metal is just a little splotchy. It’s curved as it should be for the job it performs, it’s end is hooked and there’s a hole at the end to hang it on something. This one, insignificant item that I have kept close at hand for no other reason than I like things to be in a specific place. That was one of the first things I owned, one of the few things I could control in a somewhat chaotic childhood. The one thing I can always find when I need it.

  • Kat

    No matter where he put them after coming home from work, at some point in the evening, I would trip over them. ‘The boots’ became a running joke between us.

    One day in midwinter we needed their joke badly. I had done a lot of snow shoveling and car warming to get my husband, Gary safely and as comfortably as possible to his chemo appointment and back home. We arrived home worn out, sad and scared about his health downturn and the prospect of worse ahead of us. In hindsight, I think Gary decided this wasn’t a day for ‘boot tripping’. Tired and pained though he was, Gary decided the boots needed to go in the last place he usually bothered to place them – his closet. I headed to the kitchen for his medicine and water and then to his room to help him into bed. And that’s when Gary and his boots delivered their much needed joke. In his fatigued state he was trying to put them away, but without the benefit of getting out of them first. There he was standing in the closet, perplexed about what to do next. I couldn’t help it; the laughter bubbled up out of me and it felt like drenching rain on parched land! I sat down on the floor to unlace my husband’s boots, still giggling and, delightfully, after Gary realized what was so funny he began laughing too.

    Those boots are now filled with flowers and I purposely set them in different places around the house. Sometimes I still trip.

    • Gary G Little

      Ambulatory flower pots. A great use for something so mundane that provided such a poignant and remembered moment. Thank you for that.

      • Kat

        You’re welcome, Gary. I enjoyed writing it. Glad you liked it.

    • Rannza

      Thank you for this story–it’s beautiful.

      Is it true or is it fiction. When I read it, it felt as though it was true.

      • Kat

        The story is true. My husband died in Feb 2001. The only change to the story is that the boots are.now on a shelf with tiny evergreen trees in them. – no more tripping!
        I’ve done the grief work and have made a new joyful life.

      • Kat

        Forgot to say – you’re welcome. So glad you enjoyed it.

    • Cindy

      Wow – lovely story Kat!

      • Kat

        Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it.

    • Really a beautiful story and I would enjoy reading more about your wonderful attitude towards the inevitable.

      • Kat

        I’m so pleased it touched you. We’ll see what prompts we are given – perhaps something else will work for me to share more of my experience.

  • Kieran Meyer

    I love these exercises. It’s amazing how significant certain objects become to a person, and they really can be used to trace a person’s journey through time. It’s something I need to work on incorporating to my writing.

    On the front of the notebook is written“5/27/2011-”, meaning there’s still more to write.

    Pencils and pens have scratched my tale onto the worn pages of this notebook. It’s nothing special, really. Sometimes it’s just a way of journaling at the end of the day. After long bouts of neglect I return to it and tell it what’s been going on with me; the highs of success and other drugs, the lows of adversity, the roller coaster of emotions I go through (sometimes unnecesarily/stupidly).

    Despite the amount of time I’ve been using it, anyone who read it wouldn’t necessarily learn everything about me. I’ve made sure to keep some things to myself. A man needs his secrets, after all.

    It started as a way of documenting my adventures in the southwest. Even though those adventures are such a large part of it, it became a staple whenever I pack for any adventure. Up and over a mountain, to a local coffee shop, or on a road trip, I never left home without it.

    It’s 2015. The covers are held together poorly with packing tape, many of the pages have been damaged by water despite my best efforts. I’m still using it.

  • Thomas Furmato

    I’ve been poisoned. Every joint and muscle in my body ached with groans and weaknesses, causing my normal life to grind to a halt, my perspective to everything important completely flipped. For the time, that I deal with this, it becomes the focus of my life. Every turn in my health is suspect to be resulted from this foreign substance. Except it’s not foreign.

    Like clockwork, every year I could count on my sinuses holding their own “Greatest Show on Earth.” It would last for months, and become such a part of my life that people I meet could sometimes only know me with a tissue stuck to face and the sound of rapid air being sucked back into my throat.

    When my sinuses would gather, and I could only imagine them as a group, (no single part of body could wreak such havoc on it’s own,) there was no telling what totally separate parts of my body they would commandeer. A toothache, sore shoulders, upset stomach, I really can’t draw a conclusive line as to what unsolved crimes they aren’t guilty of.

    I have to refer to them as a wholly autonomous operation of my body because they deserve it. They have their own workers union. I know, because I’ve attempted to meet with it, hoping to come to an agreement of some sort. Maybe giving me a list of demands or something. It sure seems like there are grievances.

    I’ve implemented strategies to counteract the efforts of my sinuses to bring my life to a halt, and have achieved surprising success. I would tell you more about it but I need to stop writing, my nose is starting to run.

    • Hilarious!!

      • Thomas Furmato

        Thanks for the prompt.

  • I hear the world rushing past below the tall windows of my second floor office. Main Street hustle and bustle. Everyone needs to be somewhere, and then on to the next place.

    Meanwhile, I sit up here and write, watching the sun patterns trace along the walls as the hours creep past. Page after page of my lonely musings, while the world flies by at a hectic pace below me.

    Fed up with endless typing, I decide it’s time for a break, and head down to the coffee shop aromas that have been wafting up the stairwell all day.

    The room is busy and hot, with voices raised in a cacophony of conversations. I struggle through the humanity of people and stories, feeling like I stand out, alone in everyone’s togetherness.

    I order food and drink, and retreat to an outside-facing bench where no one else sits. I take out my phone and notebook to look and feel busy while I wait for my food. The din around me blends into the warm sunshine, and I close my eyes, fighting fatigue.

    Sustenance. My healthy food arrives with my sweet, whipped-cream topped coffee (not so healthy) and I revel in the delicate flavors and sensations of warm food and hot drink.

    The noisy coffee shop feels more welcoming now, as I am a part. I savor my meal in the sunshine and watch the hustle and bustle of people and cars pass before me on Main Street, one level below my lonely office.

    Soon I will retreat to my solitude, warm food in my belly a memory of my brief sharing in humanity. Knowing this place is only a stairwell away brings comfort to my loneliness.

    Work is good. Writing is a necessary purging of the multitudes of ideas running in circles around my brain. Solitude is optional.

  • When I Was A Child I Used To Have A Favorite Doll
    By Kiki Stamatiou a. k. a. Joanna Maharis

    When I was a child I used to have a favorite doll I played with all of the time. To me, she was like a real baby. I had a little baby doll bed for her, little diapers, baby bottles filled with pretend milk and orange juice, and cute little outfits I’d dress her in.

    Her name was Hug-A-Bye. I would put her into her little stroller, and push her around the yard. Often, I’d would pretend we were going to the grocery store where my siblings would be the shop keepers with the play money we’d use. I would buy pretend baby food for her, along with other things a child generally needs.

    I love that little doll. Then, one day, I set her on a chair with some of my other dolls. The little Hug-A-Bye baby doll tilted a certain way and knocked two of the other little dolls down. I took that baby doll and gave her a spanking to punish her for knocking her siblings off of the chair. Then I shook the little baby doll.

    I began to cry, because I did what I never wanted to do to anyone, let alone a little baby, even if she was only an inanimate object.

    Throughout the years following the incident, I played with her less and less.

    When my family moved to a new house, I put that little baby doll on the shelf of my closet, never, playing with her ever again.

    As time passed, I had more and more difficulties at home with my parents, consisting of my mother taking me by the hair and shaking me violently, or my father slapping my face multiple times until the capillaries burst.

    I went through difficult times for a long time. Never once thinking about the baby doll played with as a child, because as I got older, my I had bigger things to concern myself with. I grew up fast, because at the age of 12, I was told by my parents I had to stop playing with dolls and toys, and take on responsibilities an adult generally took on.

    Upon arriving home from school, I was in charge of caring for my two siblings, which meant I had to make sure they did their chores, and didn’t have any friends over at our home. I had to clean the house from top to bottom, and make sure my siblings got dinner started for our father so it would ready upon his arrival home. I had to make sure everything was done to perfection.

    During the weekends, Christmas break, Spring Break or any other time when there was no school, I, along with my siblings, had the sole responsibility of help out at our parents carwash, without pay.

    It wasn’t until last year, I went through my things at my grandmother’s house, I came across my Hug-A-Bye baby doll, remembering the good times I had with her when I was a small child. I also remembered how I rough I was with her, and how violent I got with
    her. It was a mixture of pleasure and pain. However, as an adult now, I took her into my arms, and made a little bed for her. I even went out and bought her a new outfit; thus, removing her old clothes, and replaced them with new ones.

    © Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015

  • Thomas Furmato

    “It’s alive!”

    Most of us would recognize that quote from any Frankenstein movie, especially Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein. Anyone who is a creator feels that same euphoria when they see their work to completion. The exclamation of joy when ordinary objects are turned into extra-ordinary, because, in a sense, they have achieved life.

    It’s the unfinished projects that prove this phenomenon of everyday object becoming something more. They are born with the simplest of thoughts, nurtured with an exuberance to put pieces together, and then sit in a box, on a shelf, on a scrap of paper, sometimes for years, waiting to be competed. I have a few of them. My wife is a quilter, she has a few of them too. I would suspect that these are not strangers to most people, writers especially.

    Mine call to me once in awhile, reminding me that at one time, in a moment of passion, they were born. They get picked back up, and sometimes work is resumed, sometimes even finished. That is why we draw such a connection to these things. They become a part of us, and we long to see them become.

    • Cindy

      Well written and so very true Thomas!

  • Cindy

    Chloe stared at the blank screen. The blinking of the cursor only made her think
    of the Jeopardy tune, which only made matters worse – the pressure! It shouldn’t be this hard, therefore it had
    to be in her head, or maybe, in reality she didn’t have enough creativity in
    her head to write. Maybe if she did a
    little “pinning” on Pinterest it would take her mind off things, and of course,
    she would get right back to her story.

    She sat her timer for 15 minutes to play on Pinterest and,
    honestly, only restarted it twice before she returned back to the blank screen
    and the blinking cursor – damn, still no creative juices flowing. The dryer buzzer went off signaling the end
    of its cycle. Maybe if she got up and
    folded the laundry – that would give her time to free up her writer’s block.

    Clothes folded and put away, Chloe sauntered past her office
    door without glancing into the room. She
    would ignore it for now. Maybe a nice
    long walk would pick her energy level up and get her mind to cranking. It was a gorgeous sunny day as she took off
    on her 2 mile walk with her music blaring in her ears. This had to be the ticket.

    Five hours later, one excuse after the other, she turned the
    lights off throughout the house, set the security system and ended the day by
    crawling into bed to read a book written by someone else, who obviously did not
    have the dreaded blinking cursor disease.

  • Nora

    A question though , when I use an object to symbolize an emotion or idea , similar to the back pack and her emotional baggage, do I explain it to the reader like adding a little tag after for example: heavy she could barely lift it “similar to her emotional baggage” ?

  • Pingback: Does it Matter What Your Character Wears?()