Writing Exercise #1: Who Am I?


This was the first writing exercise from the creative writing course I just started. The teacher told us to spend 15 minutes writing a piece entitled “Who Am I”, which I thought was boring. But then he gave it a little twist. We had to write it in the third person. Thought I’d share what I wrote:

Exercise #1

The room she lives in now is probably the biggest she’s ever lived in, and it just about contains all the things she takes with her whenever she moves. Just about. These are things that didn’t make the Give to Charity list over the years. They are mainly books. Books stacked high against the wall, haphazard paperback towers leaning crookedly against each other. She finds a secret joy in adding more books to that tower, always placing the new books on top, even if they are bigger than the ones underneath. The possibility of chaos is irresistible. The possibility that one day the towers will topple, making that soft thud paperbacks make when they fall. 

She imagines someday having so many books that she will need no other forms of decoration in her house. If, that is, she ever has a house to herself. All those books would be remnants of countless attempts to escape, piling up and filling shelves and corners and window sills. All those other worlds. All those characters, with their broken hearts, and their thoughts, and their own escapes. Perhaps you are wondering if there is some irony to this: escaping into books because her own life is so empty. That is not the case. There is no such cliche here.

In the room there is also a banjo, which she loves almost as if it were a person. She loves the sound of the banjo and hates when she has to put it down because there are more pressing matters to attend to: lessons to be planned, exams to be marked, bills to be paid, people to be talked to, dishes to be washed, floors to be swept, teeth to be brushed, pyjamas to be put on, alarms to be set…


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