The You List

Published August 10, 2012 by Elsa Pla

Here’s a fantastic exercise from Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

“I began to make lists of titles, to put down long lists of nouns. These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

“The list went something like this:

THE LAKE. THE NIGHT. THE CRICKETS. THE RAVINE. THE ATTIC. THE BASEMENT. THE TRAPDOOR. THE BABY. THE CROWD. THE NIGHT TRAIN. THE FOG HORN. THE SCYTHE. THE CARNIVAL. THE CAROUSEL. THE DWARF. THE MIRROR MAZE. THE SKELETON.

“Where am I leading you? Well, if you are a writer, or would hope to be one, similar lists, dredged out of the lopside of your brain, might well help you discover you, even as I flopped around and finally discovered me.”

I love you, Ray!

Here’s the start of my list:

THE OLD HOUSE. THE PORTRAIT. THE LOCKED DESK. THE DARK CLOSET. THE TIGER. THE EMPTY ROOM. THE LONG-HAIRED TREE. THE CEMETERY. THE LEPER COLONY. THE HURRICANE. THE STARING DOLLS. THE DOOR ON THE FLOOR. THE WHITE MICE. THE LAKE. THE GHOST. THE BLACK BIRDS. THE OPEN WINDOW. THE BULLY. THE MIRRORS. THE DARK DREAMS. THE WAVE. THE WASPS. THE SUGAR CANE FIELD. THE WITCH.

Now you try it! 🙂

I will post again next Monday. Enjoy the weekend!

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