Emotion Clouds the View: Describing a Room
After discussing story telling with my sister, Fern, I decided to try my hand at describing a room, in the context of creative writing. I thought it would be easy. After all, how much can go into telling what a room looked like?
As I sat down, with pen and paper to scribble out a description, I found it was not such a simple task. To say, "The kitchen walls were painted deep blue, while the cupboards were made of light oak, and white curtains hung at the windows," didn't cut it.
That description may work for a home decorating magazine, but in creative story telling, one has to speak through the eyes of another. One has to tell how another feels; and, how another feels, colors everything.
Was the blue paint cheerful and warming, or dull and boring? How did the curtains hang? What else was in the room? Where was the kitchen, and why was the person there?
All of these questions had to be answered. Maybe not for the reader, but as the author, I had to know these things. As the writer, it was my job to make the reader see what the subject saw and feel how the subject felt.
To show the room to the reader, not to tell him about it.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then this house was in serious trouble, she thought, as she turned into the small, cramped room.
The walls were a deep blue, like the lips of a dead man, and the appliances black, cold. The cast iron skillet was grimy, reminding her of an old oil coater engine, in danger of catching fire.
The once white counter tops were cheap, like an old harlot. The golden cupboards gleamed with sarcasm. Their oak fronts carefully fashioned to hide the true nature of composite board and laminated paper.
Sondra had been house hunting all day. She had seen multiple realtors, filled out tons of applications, and was exhausted. She had thought moving across the country would be an adventure...
The old man was disgruntle. He hated moving out of his home. He hated that he needed help. He knew his son and daughter-in-law were doing this for his good, but as he climbed out of the backseat, and survaide the toy strewn lawn, his heart sank even deeper.
He navigated amongst the toys and children, who insisted on laughing. In his heart, he knew they were glad to have him, but to his ears it sounded harsh. There was a long flight of stiars from the front door, leading up to the kitchen. He climbed them slowly, and looked around.
The black appliances and bluish-purple walls looked like a bruise, waiting to turn green. The once white counters were tinted pink, stained with kool-aid…the sins of many. A large iron skillet, left near the stove, had the feel of some medieval weapon.
Golden, gleamed the cupboards; rich with sarcasm. The oak face was only a mask to hide their true nature of press board and laminated paper.
Above the dark sink hung a lamp, twisted with leaves and vines. A dusty white valance above the north facing window was the only piece of cheer he could see in this small room.
The house had been in his family for several generations. Even before they were married, he had talked of living there one day. Christy had thought it one of his many passing fancies, but moving to the mountains remained at the forefront of his dreams.
As they pulled up to the house in a moving van, she wondered yet again, what they were doing, striking out for places unknown. Timidly, she unlocked the wooden front door. It had been locked up for more than a year, and creaked as it swung inward. Dust hung lightly in the air, glittering in the sunlight. The rooms were cozy and well arranged.
Then she noticed the kitchen. The deep lilac blue walls had a cozy feeling, like a summer evening spent by the lake. the black appliances gave instant charm, reminding her of simpler days… The golden oak of the cupboards matched the wooden handle of her coffee grinder.
A knotty pine table in the adjacent dining room, with its hand carved antique chairs was just the place for her family to gather.
Matching chandeliers glowed warm, over the table and sink. They were a rich brown, like old hinges, and were twined ’bout with a leafy vine.
She could imagine herself brewing coffee and frying eggs for her family in the morning… and after a long day, gathered around the table for a board game, growing stronger and closer together.
Writing these helped me to see my kitchen in a new light, and gave me new reasons to be thankful. They are a reminder to not let my feelings guide my day. To actively choose my perspective.
Color Me Happy: Adding Emotional Nuance To Your Prose, by Mary Rosenblum
Perspective colors everything. How you feel at the moment will color how the day looks to you. Think about it, and next time everything seems to be wrong, find a new perspective to look at the situation through. Make up a character, if you have to.
The sun shone brightly, though the air was crisp and cold. Maurie looked around, noting the changing foliage of fall, before climbing the porch steps before her. The white paint was peeling from the the wooden rail. The steps creaked beneath her feet...
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