Today’s exercise is in two parts, using description effectively. The same scene has to be described first with negative associations and then with positive associations in the first person, with a word count of 200 – 250 words for each paragraph.
1) Describe location as if ‘I’ character is revisiting a place with negative associations.
It’s just as cold as I remember, stark walls and those great curtain-less windows showing me the world in patches but keeping me separated from it. Outside the world passes by, oblivious to my existence, as it always had. The dog walker, the postie, resolutely looking away from this rambling pile. The damp marked wall paper has peeled further down the wall than when I was last here, the drip-drip of the leaking pipe a constant rhythm that counted out the seconds, hours, days of my time. I look at my corner. No, it wasn’t my corner, it was the corner I was put in to, wooden floors rough and biting, cold wall of patchy paper and bare plaster. I remember the constant tedium after I’d run out of patterns to trace. It still reeked in here. Of mould. Of rotting furniture, mouldering in the grim grey light that entered the room. Of decomposing food waste and human faeces. There were other things here too, things I’d rather not see. But I have to. I have to look in to the shadows. I flash the torch round until I see IT, staring back at me. It would all be gone soon. And I am glad of it.
2) Describe same place as a sanctuary
The windows are wide open now; then they were closed against the night, curtains drawn against the cold. This room, with its minimalism and elegant black and white colour scheme, accents of silver making intricate patterns that danced in the firelight, this is the place. How clean it looks! The smooth wooden floors, perfect as an ice rink, the pale soft leather sofas covered in cushions that add the only colour to this bright room. I can smell the garden flowers through the open windows. They’re busy with excited children. Dogs bark and cars rush by, but this room is peaceful, holding the world back, keeping it all safely at arms length. I remember the curtains, thick and soft in my trembling hands as I peeked out in to the dark. They muffled all sound. Warm, bright and cheerful place and people, I was drawn in to dancing, eating, laughing with them. It’s not really that big a room, but all the furniture was pushed back against the walls I hid behind. With the bits and pieces back in their place it looks smaller than I remember, but cosier. There’s something about the room, this place, that feels like home.
Hmm, I’m not sure how that turned out. Description is something I struggle with. I have images in my head, but getting them out of my head and onto paper is difficult. I tend to use a sort of short hand description that just outlines rather than describes, because I forget that no one else can see the pictures in my brain.