Sit up straight, feet flat, pen poised – ready? Now don’t think, just write what comes to mind. Don’t pick up your pen, just keep writing. I’m going to time you now, so write fast. It’s okay if it doesn’t make sense or if it jumps around because this is just practice anyway. Don’t look so scared; it’s not that hard. Just write down what you’re thinking. Ready? Now go! Are you writing something? Remember, don’t pick up your pen! Keep going, don’t stop. If you’re stuck, think about what you had for lunch today. What was it? Pizza? Soup? What did it taste like? What did it feel like, smell like? Have you eaten it before? Why did you choose to eat this? Are you saving for something so chose the cheapest option? Or did you decide to treat yourself? Think about where you are. Is it a restaurant? Your house? In the park? Are you eating by yourself or with a friend? You over there, keep writing! Don’t stop – think about how you would describe something, say an apple, to someone who can’t see. Tell them how it smells, how it sounds when you bite into it. Does it crunch? Do you slurp a little to catch all the juices before they drip down your chin? Now try to explain it to someone who can’t hear. How would you do that? It’s hard, isn’t it? That’s okay, writing is a challenge. Keep writing, I didn’t say you could stop. Think about someone you don’t like – describe them. Maybe you don’t like your cousin. What is he like? Maybe he always smells like fish because fish is his favorite food and he never brushes his teeth. Maybe he is afraid of snakes and you scared him once by putting a fake rubber snake on his head when he was asleep. Maybe you don’t like him because he broke all your colored pencils in half when you were small and you wanted to cry because they were the first full set of colored pencils you had ever owned but you didn’t cry because you didn’t want to be a crybaby like he was and anyway, crying wouldn’t have fixed your pencils. So you took those pencils and turned them into mini colored pencils and once summer was over, you were the envy of everyone in your class because they all wanted mini colored pencils like you. Now think about how those colored pencils felt in your hands. Did they poke the skin between your thumb and forefinger because after sharpening them too many times to count they were finally too small for your hand? What sort of pictures did you draw? What colors did you use? Maybe you made Christmas cards for everyone in your family that year and you drew green Christmas trees and red presents and golden angels and everyone loved them – except your cousin, who threw his away with the wrapping paper from his other gifts and once again you were devastated and so that’s how you came to dislike your cousin. But now think back to your lunch today. Maybe you ate it with your cousin. Maybe he called you up the other day and asked you to meet him for lunch at his favorite restaurant – Red Lobster – because he had something to tell you. Think about how that made you feel – apprehensive? Confused? But maybe because you’re the type of person to give people second chances, you agreed and went to meet him for lunch. Perhaps the restaurant was crowded and warm and the seafood smell even permeated your clothes but you couldn’t get angry because he was so polite and kind that you couldn’t believe it was the same person who tormented you when you were small. He even surprised you by paying for your meal – popcorn shrimp and those warm cheese biscuits – and then he told you that he was getting married and he wanted you to be a part of it because you were his cousin and had always been there for him so would you please do him the honor of being in his wedding? And of course you were taken by surprise because you hadn’t realized you meant so much to him, and now you feel a little guilty because of the secret dislike you’ve been harboring for years, but you just smile and nod enthusiastically, congratulating him and vowing to yourself that you will make it up to him because you’re proud of him and because you’re family and that’s what family is for. And – time! There, you’re done. That wasn’t so bad, was it? You want to keep writing, don’t you? I told you that you’d like it. Alright, we’ll do another exercise next week. Turn in your papers now, please. See you all next class!