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You have two options to become a writer. You have to have something interesting to say or find an interesting way to say it. Right now, and most likely forever, you can’t have both.

For example, you may be able to articulate the way to calculate the number of pebbles that it would take to cover the bottom of the lake. Something about volume or surface area. I don’t remember, I wasn't paying attention in the math classes, I wish I paid attention in the math classes, but that’s neither here nor that but is an interesting thing to say.

Or maybe you too don’t have anything interesting to say. Okay that’s fine, me too. But we have something to say. We just have to find a way to say it interestingly. For example, maybe you and I feel misunderstood. Big whoop, get in line, or cry me a river, a river that dries up into a stream, and trickles into a lake.

This lake, lined with pebbles. Maybe you or I, or you and I are a pebble, who despite being surrounded by all our pebble friends, having a surprising amount of job security keeping the lake stable, and a medley of visitors human, feathered or otherwise looks up at the sky and silently thinks,

I feel like I’m drowning, not like my lungs are filling up with water, or my limbs turning concrete, but like, all the rest of my body, you know, the parts that we go to church for, the parts we think may go on forever, feels like screaming.


For this exercise I want us to figure out what kind of writer we are. Do you know a lot of things, or can you upturn the mundane

  1. Pick a topic you know a lot about and write as many facts about it as possible
    1. For example, I know a lot about sun bears, I know they like star fruits, are the smallest bear species and that due to poaching more exist within zoos than their natural habits of the forests of malaysia
  2. Write as many objective facts about yourself as possible.
    1. For example if you were me, you could say you were twenty seven, and make 60% more money than you did a year ago.
  3. Return to part one, and write about the same facts creatively
    1. For example, returning to the sunbears, I could tell you that their gravitation to star fruits is slowly shortening their life spans due to the high levels of natural sugars. Not too unlike us and our love for things that are bad for us. Normalized like caffeine, or otherwise. Or I could say something about how the sun bears are slaughtered for their liver bile, because traditional eastern medicine ties sun bear liver bile to things like longevity, tumor erasing, and other feats of strength that you and I shouldn’t talk about in this setting, but like, the kinda stuff that happens in the movies after our hero and her love get caught up kissing in the rain.
  4. Write statements about your internal self that a stranger would not know.
    1. ​​​​​​​For example, I’m not necessarily asking you to talk about your feelings, nor are we in an integration room, and I’m demanding a confession. We are just trying to figure out if we have anything to say. It may be helpful to return to part 2, the statements about yourself. For example, instead of 27 years old, I could say I’m much closer to 30 than I’d like to admit.
    2. Or going back to money. It wouldn’t be interesting to say, shit yeah man, it feels really good to make more money - no duh bro. So for the speaker of this work, it may be helpful to return to the old self who had no money. How he thought it was absurd of his professors to bug us about term papers, when none of us had the money for rent. Or maybe it places him back into the meeting with the dean when he had to explain to her that his students didn’t take the exam because two nights ago one of their classmates took their own life and their roommate found them hanging from the ceiling fan.
    3. So I, I mean the speaker, spent the exam period with the class, just kinda sitting there sharing in our collective grief. We talked about the sadness of sad things, and the importance of having someone to talk to. We read some sad poems, and had nothing to say about them. We tried to write a letter to their mother, but didn’t know how to start it. We knew “I’m sorry for your loss” was a meaningless repetition, and none of us wanted to talk about them in past tense. I think, we thought that if we didn't say “was” for long enough, it would bring them back to life.

*[A prompt from the last week of my introduction to creative writing class. When we should have been doing something else, but instead we went outside and sat beside the manmade pond. I read this. And we wrote for a while. It was a really long winter semester, but It was finally nice outside. Everyone was struggling a lot this semester. You know, with exams, and finals, and the billion other things that we would like to talk about, but, don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing in the context of a “classroom” the kinda stuff that ends up as some foggy metaphor that the workshop would later praise as “loving the imagery”.]