Silly Strings

Outtakes 191


Silly Strings

by Cait Collins


A couple of days ago, I made my annual trek to the dollar store to stock up on cans of silly string. It has become a tradition for both kids and adults to engage in a canned-string fight after our family Easter egg hunt. I enjoy the event. We can go through a hundred cans of string in a matter of minutes, and when all the cans are empty, we leave behind a lawn bathed in all the colors of the rainbow.

Using colors in our writing helps to create the setting. And with so many hues, why do we seem to get stuck with blue, red, green, and yellow. Why not experiment with different shades of basic colors? Visualize the hues listed below and if you choose, add others to the list.

Blues: pacific, cornflower, sky, indigo, midnight, outer space, cadet, periwinkle, robin’s egg, aquamarine, cobalt

Greens: inchworm, sea, pine, jungle, granny smith apple, olive, forest, spring, asparagus, emerald

Pinks: carnation, salmon, blush

Oranges: apricot, macaroni and cheese, peach, melon, burnt

Purples: violet, mauve, orchid, lavender, wisteria, magenta, plum, amethyst

Grays: timber wolf, thundercloud, smoke

Browns: sepia, tan, beige, tumbleweed, burnt sienna, mahogany, bittersweet, chestnut, beaver

Yellows: goldenrod, dandelion, almond, citrine

Reds: scarlet, brick, wild strawberry, beet, ruby

Blacks: ebony, onyx, shadow

Whites: sea salt, marshmallow, snow, ivory, antique

With these colors in mind, describe an English garden, a field of wild flowers, a thunder storm; a mountain top view, a sunset, an ocean view at sunrise, the woods in autumn, a romantic get-away, or a murder .scene. Be specific in your descriptions. Let your color choices set the mood. Let the scenes “bake” for a while before reading them. And when you do read your descriptions, can you see them?

Happy coloring.




By Nandy Ekle

Same old thing, day in, day out. Nothing ever changes, always the same.

Or does it . . .

When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you think? Does the same thought roll across your mind every single day? If you do, try to consciously think something different. Here’s an example. Instead of jabbing the alarm clock and thinking gloomily that you have to get up, try changing the sound of your alarm. I’ve chosen a piece of music to remind me of a fantastic trip coming up later this year. So the first thing i think in the morning is about the ocean. You could change your alarm to dogs barking or babies laughing, or even a typewriter clacking away.

How about getting dressed? Well, where I work the dress code is business casual, except on Fridays. Our company uses the “casual Friday” option allowing blue jeans. So, during the week, find a way to spice up your outfit. Try playing with colors. And what do these colors do for you when you wear them?

Changing your routines can stimulate creativity. And, as we all know, a stimulated sense of creativity invites the muse to visit you — and she always brings gifts.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.




Where to Start?

Where to Start?

Where do I start writing? This question confounds even the best writers.

When you have trouble getting started, pick a setting. What objects do you see? Describe any characters in your vision. Include smells, colors, textures or tastes. All these will help describe what you see.

Use an organized outline or simply jot down notes to organize later.

Rory C. Keel

Let Me Show You Something


Let Me Show You Something

I have something to show you. Come closer, a little closer. Good Now get comfortable. It may sound strange, but you have to close your eyes to see this. Ready? All right, let’s begin.

In order for you to see the things I want you to see and hear the sounds I want you to hear, I am going to draw and paint with my words. Here goes. I’ll use lots of colors and sounds. Do you feel the wind on your face? Can you smell the new air yet? Yes, that’s it. Do you hear the sounds I hear? Yes, yes, that’s it. Okay, open your eyes.

You are now in this world I have created. I meant for this particular world to be beautiful and full of color and scents and sounds. I believe there are some birds in that tree—bright reds and blues in the branches that vibrate with green. And the color of the dirt, have you ever seen it so black? It could almost be velvet. And look at the sun—you see, in my world you can look directly at the sun and never suffer—and how beautiful it is.

And the smells! Did you know the green could smell so green? And up there are some wild flowers growing all over the hillside with the sweetest perfume in this world.

Can you hear the birds sing while the children play in the park? What? You overlooked the park? Well come with me and I’ll show you. It’s up the hill, just a ways. The children are playing on the swings and the slide and the merry-go-round. They’re smiling and laughing; oh, they have such musical laughter! They all get along and run and play together. The jungle-gym over in that corner is covered with kids climbing, hanging by their knees, and just sitting soaking up the sun.

Did you notice their parents and nannies? I think we’ll call them the “watchers.” The mothers and some dads, some nannies, some teenagers doing their homework are all over to the side of the park next to the sandbox. They visit and talk, each one lovingly mentioning the name of their child over and over again.

Do you like the world I have made here? This is why I write.

Nandy Ekle