Writing From Life

Self PortraitI love life drawings. There is something so stunning and dynamic in a strong life drawing, something that no other drawing can portray. I love looking at them, but I also love making them. Putting real life on paper is almost ethereal sometimes… In fact, I love it so much that I’m retaking Figure Drawing this fall! It’s good practice, and it will help me build my artistic vocabulary.

My question is this: can I do the same thing with writing? What does “Life Writing” look like?

I’ve been thinking about ways to practice writing, and I’ve been considering this idea of life writing. I think of it as the process of describing what you see in front of you, at a live moment, and trying to capture that life in words. So here’s my first (conscious) attempt:

Just myself and my sister sitting at the table. I write, she reads. Her book is a somewhat thick paperback, “Atlas Shrugged” and she looks absorbed, except when she occasionally pauses to state some criticism or praise of the author.
“You don’t ‘chuckle’ in intense moments. You just don’t.” she says, briefly leaving the fictional world, but then quickly returning to it.

Our small, square table has a few copies of old Wall Street Journals on one side, and a half empty box of donuts on the other. Directly in front of me is my icing stained paper towel, my fingerprint covered Kindle Fire, and three of my newest purchases: Hawkeye, Bullseye, and Daredevil. The three little men are about four inches tall, but they cast much taller shadows, spanning from the edge of the newspaper where they stood, across the beige colored tabletop and onto the great donut box.
The tabletop itself has a few watery rings on it, left by the condensation from my double shot espresso. I notice how close the liquid was to the newspaper, and after a moment of blank consideration, I lazily wiped the water up with my crumpled paper towel.

The whole kitchen smelled like the new asphalt being freshly laid at the end of our slightly overgrown yard. Smoke rose from the road and hot tar. The smell doesn’t bother me quite as much as the incessant, rumbling hum of the machines. It’s like resting your head next to a running lawn mower.

I’m just waiting for my Amazon package.

It’s kinda weird. I think it might be even cooler at a school, store, library, airport, or something, where you could infer a but more story/narrative. I’ll have to give a shot sometime at one of my favorite coffee shops.

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