Blog post alert: I can't think of an equivalent exercise for writers, but I was fascinated by James Gurney's video demonstrating Painting Raindrops on a Windshield. If you like to watch a pro work magic, check it out!
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: In Observation Journal: Ten Terrible Things, writer-illustrator Kathleen Jennings illustrates and explores an exercise she picked up from Helen Marshall: As quick as you can, jot down ten terrible ideas for a novel based on the X-meets-Y model. Examples: The Elements of Style as a musical, Where the Wild Things Are if it were a cooking show. Writers can use it to loosen up. Readers can turn it into a parlor game—or in these days when we should not be gathering for parties, one of you can plot a story about a group who did. My quick variation: Ten Terrible Romances, e.g., Heathcliff meets Bridget Jones, Elizabeth Bennett meets Superman. What's yours? (Warning: As Jennings observes, you may find yourself trying to develop one of your wacky ideas. Well, why not?)
Serendipity: Cold weather sent me searching for images of hot-water "pigs," ceramic bottles used as foot warmers (my old dissertation director once told me about how the monks in an Irish monastery provided her with one when she was doing research in their unheated library). A thumbnail at Foot warmers: hot coals, hot water sent me next on a hunt for an enlargement of a Dutch painting that shows a family using boxes of hot coals to warm their feet. No luck. What I found instead is a different painting by the same artist, Quirijn van Brekenlenham of a family in an interior. No foot warmers, but wow! what an exquisite depiction of lace-making. In this time of pandemic and Zoom, a reminder that we should all find time to work with our hands.