This week, our SoHo office has earned an extra “t”: SOHOT. So we asked alum Loretta Lopez, editor of this year’s The Best Teen Writing (to be released in the fall) and native of Guadalajara, to share her ideas for keeping cool and creative during this sultry season. Read on, while you sip your iced chai or lemonade! Have ideas on how to stay creative this summer? Tweet them to @artandwriting using #StartWriteNow or post them on our Facebook page!
Go to a nearby library, bookstore, or even a shelf in your house. Run your fingers over the spines of books (perhaps with your eyes closed) and when one feels right, choose it. Split it open and read the first paragraph that you lay your eyes on. Then, write a scene that either follows or precedes the occurrences of the paragraph you just read.
Cut, Paste, Write
Look through old magazines and newspapers. Cut out a few images and headlines that interest you. Construct a collage by arranging your collection, perhaps in peculiar ways—you may place a Buddhist monk on top of a skyscraper or make a beach house ride a dragonfly. Once you are satisfied with your collage, create a poem or story based the scenarios you have constructed.
Find a compelling street, alleyway or building in your neighborhood and describe it as precisely as possible. Pretend your description will be sent to someone across the ocean and that you want them to feel as if they had been standing right next to you. Try to be innovative with your word choice. When you run into words you find yourself using often, grab a thesaurus and explore other possibilities.
Be your own Psychic
For years, without knowing why, I was afraid of scissors directly pointing at me, even if they had been nonchalantly placed on a table beside me or if they were the child-friendly kind with non-threatening blades. Do you sometimes feel there are inexplicable quirks to your personality? Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation, imagine you had a past life. Write as if you were this person, to explore aspects of yourself you find no explanation for in your present life.
With a friend, come up with a wild situation/scenario or an intriguing character. Then, write about this situation or character separately for at least twenty minutes. Share your results.