Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dunging Out and Redding Up

Recently a writing friend and I had a discussion about organizing our writing spaces. She described the things she found while “dunging out” her desk area. What would she do with the Christmas cards and other mementos she found? She had to find a home for these things before she could redd up.

Being a Pennsylvania Dutch gal, I knew what redd up meant. We redd up the house before company came, redd up our rooms before our mothers performed their inspections. I had never heard of “dunging out.” My friend explained that “dunging out” was akin to cleaning out a cattle barn. It was the bulldozer phase of cleaning, getting rid of the things you had accumulated over the years. Redding up was the feather duster phase, the fluffing pillows and straightening bookshelves.

Most of us have a junk drawer or a closet where we deposit things. They’ve become the catch-all of things we don’t know what to do with at the moment, but we want them out of sight. Or maybe we have the best of intentions. We put them there because someday, we’ll empty the drawer (or closet) and figure out what to do with the stack of birthday cards or the pencils that don’t have lead.

Open your closet or junk drawer. You might want to start with your writing space. Take a good look inside. Empty it on the floor beside you. What did you find? Maybe there’s a movie ticket from five years ago. A birthday card from your dog. A pair of shoes with a broken heel. A pair of Nikes still in its box and unlaced. What was I thinking when I bought that Spandex mini skirt?

Make a list of the things you found. Include the mundane things like rubber bands and lint as well as the items that spark a memory or emotional reaction. As time allows, freewrite about the things on your list. Begin with the objects that evoke a reaction. But don’t ignore the lint or rubber bands. Write about those, too. Write your observations. Then push past the obvious. Go deeper and beyond what’s on the surface. Please feel free to post your freewrite.

And as always...have fun!


Anonymous said...

This is a great writing exercise. I'm going to try it.

Do you mean "gum bands"?

Rita Marie Keller said...

Thanks for stopping by. What are "gum bands"?

Shelly said...

Hi, I really like your blog. I am going to try a few of these exercises. I suffer from writers block alot. I was wondering if you would like to add it to my directory? /
Thanks, Shelly

Rita Marie Keller said...

Hi Shelly! Thanks so much for stopping by. Thank you for the offer to list my blog in your directory. I appreciate it! Please let me know how your writing has been going.
Best, Marie