Mind maps. You begin with a blank page, turn it horizontally, then smack a word or image at its center. By association, you see what grows. I don’t always follow those directions, but I do find that following my random associations does bring me to unexpected places.
There are places in my writing where I’ll sometimes want to liken a feeling with an object, bring certain imagery to the forefront. Saving these types of maps are actually helpful when it comes to writing, not just in terms of objects, but it brings up memories. Stories included in both Straight Up and Dirty and Moose came from this simple mind map.
"Our weekends were spent with her as our chauffeur, driving us to dance and singing lessons, drama class, piano, painting, and schlepping Lea off to Maccabee soccer. She made holidays fun, always offered to drive when other moms wouldn’t. Mom was a cool older sibling, the kind who took us to rock concerts and stood on her chair, but when she tried to pile on the demands and play the part of mother, her pleas went unanswered. I’d defiantly laugh at her requests. And as I got older, I bloomed into even more of a brat." –Moose
It’s just one observation, that my mother is the type to stand on her chair at a concert, but it’s a very telling detail, one I yanked straight from my mind map. It’s why exercises like this open and fascinate me. Others:
Clean tidy bedside table: SUAD, when tidying up mine before a date, knowing its objects will speak volumes about me. (Pg. 18 in the paperback)
Bikini wax: SUAD, Oh, Helga. (Pg. 16 in the paperback)
Camp: Ahem, and then there was Moose
Barenaked Ladies: SUAD (Pg. 32 in the paperback)
Each word on the map could be a brand new center position map. I can’t imagine what might come from doing a mind map on butter. Somehow I know it would include a nether region and a pair of pants.