Saturday, February 03, 2007

Word Play

Did you know you’ve been in a classroom when you've come to my page? Yep, you sure have. Although this is a class, I’m not the teacher. Perhaps you’ve been unaware – but you’ve all been grading me from the start. Tonight I thought I’d share a completed assignment with you and show you an uncompleted one.

My first assignment back in November was to write something each and every day. I passed that one, having posted something every single day in that month.

The next was to create 10 descriptive phrases using nature or natural things as an analogy.

These are the six descriptions that passed: The River Oak's bark was peeling scrolls of time.

The branches were twisted and gnarled like arthritic witches fingers.

It was a vanilla soft-serve ice-cream colored '62 Chevy

Dark-chocolate rich vocals

I call her dogs Chernobyl dogs. They’re hairless and look like they’ve been exposed just a little to long to radiation. She corrects me every time. They’re “Chinese Crested Hairless” dogs she tells me. I still think they look like victims of a nuclear accident.

As I arranged the leaves in my hand, an artist's palate of fall colors appeared.

These nine didn’t pass muster! (But I still like some of them anyway) The bare tree revealed its acne, mistletoe!

As the sun shown through the Pampas Grass the plumes resembled ostrich feathers.

The Creep Myrtle trees showed their ball-bearing clusters of berries just waiting to drop on the sidewalk and endanger passers-by.

He lived his life like a leaf floating down a stream, haplessly bumping into any rock in the current.

The wheels of my car slid over the road, the way water rushes over rocks in a snow-melt stream.

The coals were colored blood-orange hot

He was persistent, like black mold, when it came to turning in assignments

He was a punk Liberace with happy feet

I drew closer, trying to discern if it was a shadow, or a spider’s ghost web, clinging to the corner wall above the torchiere lamp.

My latest assignment (which hasn’t been graded yet) was to create descriptions using each one of the senses:

One with sight Stella quickly found the pheasant with her nose and struck a classic pointing bird pose. I, on the other-hand, peered at the Bev Doolittle pictorial waiting for the rice stalks to render the bird’s plumage.

One with touch There was a persistent pine-needle poke in the crook of my elbow, every time I bent my arm. Further examination of my flannel pajama top led me to discover a goose-down feather imbedded in the sleeve.

One with scent I thought I’d pulled back the flap of an Indian Maharajas tent, instead of opening the door to my house, the arid, desert brittle-bush smell of curry escaped outside as I rushed to answer the ringing phone.

One with sound As we talked on the phone I asked him if the gurgle-burp of water in the kitchen drain was a bad sign, especially when I wasn’t running water in the kitchen, but the sound was generated from the clothes washer at the other end of the house.

Next I was to try a paragraph. It could all be the same thing, or all related to the sane thing, I was trying to describe. I choose to try and describe a pheasant hunt with my dad.

Stella quickly found the pheasant with her nose and struck a classic pointing bird pose. I, on the other-hand, peered at the Bev Doolittle pictorial waiting for the rice stalks to dissolve into the bird’s plumage. At my command she flushed the bird into the cerulean blue autumn sky. With the 20 gage under-over shotgun I followed the birds aerial path – and when I judged the intersection of bird and shell, I pulled the trigger. Immediately the crack of an ice-laden pine branch shatter issued from the gun. The sky looked as if a feather pillow had exploded, and the bird fell to earth. As I followed Stella across the field to the bird’s final resting place, my boots released the odor of tulle-ditch mud, burning rice fields, and gun-powder from the other hunters. It was the smell of a Sacramento Valley autumn. She found the bird when she was about 5 yards away from me and proudly picked it up for the retrieve. Apparently those snow-flake delicate feathers weren’t her favorite appetizer and several times she dropped the bird. In cartoon animal fashion she tried to remove the pin feathers from her mouth. With pride she took the last 10 steps and gently laid our mutual reward for diligence at my feet.

How about you? Do you want to play? List your descriptive phrase and which sense you were using to describe it in the comments.

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