At the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication, three well-known scholars of composition led a discussion on a writing exercise they'd assigned themselves. Each wrote for an hour a day for a 30-day month on an everyday object, a consciousness-raising activity that revealed much about the the objects examined and the writers themselves. We've taken it upon ourselves to replicate this exercise and record the results here.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Characters and players
Salt shaker Pepper grinder
Large, brushed metal container
Medium, brushed metal container
Small, brushed metal container
Cobalt blue apron hanging next to counter
Box containing Elliott’s birthday present
from Aunt Bev
Children’s Claritin box
Kurt Vonnegut biography
DMV registration reminder
Late one Tuesday afternoon. Early spring. Windows open upstairs but not downstairs. Close to the end of the workday.
DMV registration reminder: (filled with anxiety) I’ve been here for a
week. A week?! They know I am here; they know what to do
with me. Is it really that complicated?!
Children’s Claritin: (only slightly annoyed)
Relax, Reggie. It’s not like you are forgotten or, worse, thrown away like most of the
other stuff that has been here.
Kurt biography: Yes.
They have laid you out with care and respect. I feel that is quite clear. It is only a matter of time.
Registration: (obviously offended) With care?! She spent more time
thumbing through that new catalogue than she did reading me! She laid that piece of garbage out with as
much care as she did me.
Anthropology catalogue: (joking sarcasm) Hello?
I am right here? I can here you
talking about me.
Don’t feel poorly, Catie. She
received me as a Christmas gift and has only taken the time to flip through
me. She may, eventually, end up giving you more attention than me.
Box containing Elliott’s present: Hi. Hello,
I’m Package. I don’t think I have had
the pleasure of meeting everyone, but I was wondering something. You see, I apparently have presents for some
kid’s 5th birthday, and I was wondering when that may be. And also, do you know if there will be a
party? And if so, do you think I will be
given then or may it be before or…
Large container: (interrupting with a grumpy tone) Dag nab
it! For crying out loud! None of us care about you, ya cardboard crate. Some of us have jobs to do! I need to be well rested if I am going to be
ready bright and early when it is breakfast time. I mean, I do
Small and medium containers, salt and pepper,
and Claritin in unison: (mocking in a
loving manner) “Their favorite cereal. We know.”
Just because some of us are to be of use… Nothing but spiteful discrimination…
Whatever! We are all of use. I mean, some days, I am of use at every meal. Talk about needing rest!
(deep, sexy voice) You do work
hard, baby. Everyday. Some stuff just don’t understand.
Blue apron: (wining, but only slightly) I’m not sure she
even remembers I am here. Some days I
wonder if I am really here. She walks
past me… puts stuff on the counter… in the trashcan… Doesn’t even give me a
I wouldn’t feel bad, Colbie. From
what I’ve seen, she hardly knows the kitchen can be of use for cooking –
(snickering) except maybe on a couple of holidays.
All the stuff: (laughter and giggles all around)
(still laughing) Yeah, and maybe a late night snack.
One that doesn’t require anything… except maybe the microwave!
Biography: (whispering) Do they expect us to bow or something of the sort? The humiliation... (yelling) WE ARE INANIMATE. (whispering again) They are almost as bad as she is!