I have hit the writing wall. I’ve been on a hot streak TAFE assignment wise, enjoying the challenges and knocking them down like some kind of pro tennis player. It’s been very fulfilling and wonderful, like hot chocolate on a cold winters day. Unfortunately I fear it’s all about to end in one tragically depressing, dull as faded wall paper kind of way.
It’s description week.
And with the exception of that opening paragraph, in which I poured my best attempt at simile construction ever, I don’t write descriptive.
Or not the kind of descriptive I’m supposed to write, using similes and metaphors and words that make you smell and taste and hear what summer looks like.
The thing is I don’t like those kind of books. I’m not the sort of reader who needs to know how ‘the sun glinting off the brown in her hair, threw auburn streaks, just like the kind her grandmother had before the chemo.’
Actually, no I lie. I would want that information because I’m sure it has meaning. I dislike the overuse of descriptive words with little context, and so I avoid them like the plague.
And now I have to write them.
It’s making me as grumpy as a shark cage diving operator whose sharks have fled from their usual haunting grounds. Or at least as despondent as one.
I have literally spent hours staring at a screen trying to describe the sound of rain falling on to a corrugated iron roof.
So far I have come up with…
- It sounds like rain
- It sounds like water falling from the sky onto a roof
- It sounds like relief from the oppressive heat of the buildup
And that’s about it. Even after waking up in the middle of the night to a downpour and really, really listening. It still just sounds like rain to me.
I have vague memories of being in primary school and learning about smilies and having a similar sort of enthusiasm back then. Mind you that was all a bit of a ‘fill in the gap exercise.’ You know the ones.
“As fast as a… gazelle .”
“As tall as a … giraffe.”
“As mind-numbingly boring as a… simile fill in sheet.”
“As frustrated as a …. writing student forced to use adjectives.”
Now I know that the purpose of this assignment is to stretch our brains a little bit, and practice those description writing skills, which is good. I’m not against that. And if I had to use those in a particular context, I would enjoy it. But I’m lost on how to describe things just for the sake of it. Such as how grass feels beneath your feet. (Like grass). Or a warm breeze on your face (exactly as it sounds.) The lecturer is looking for tactile descriptions, whereas I’m much more confident with emotional ones. Walking on the grass reminds me of Darwin, so it feels like home. A warm breeze on your face is the beauty of spring, when you start to believe you might not be cold forever. The sound of rain is the sound of hope. And Christmas. And cartwheels in the garden.
Those are the kind of descriptions that have meaning to me and tell far more than an over abundance of adjectives ever could.
But this week it’s not the name of the game, and so I fear my winning streak at assignments has ended. I shall instead stare at my metaphorical brick wall, willing rain to tell me how it sounds in a more descriptive manner, and then put this frustrating and despair filled essay well and truly behind me, and hope my mark isn’t as low as as the prices of Kmart’s new range of homewares.
Wish me luck!
Do you like descriptive writing?
How would you describe the sound of rain?
A brief note: as of next Tuesday the 14th of April, IBOT will begin closing at 12 midnight, Western Australia Time, to make reading all the posts a more achievable task for #teamIBOT.