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Exercise Wednesday: Cold

October 3, 2012

I live in Florida. Odds are very good that you do, as well. If you had to measure the amount of time where you’re hot against the amount of time where you’re cold, hot probably wins by a tally of several to one. I write these a fair amount ahead of time, and this morning, I ran rather aggressively on an oppressive, humid morning. The hot didn’t quit.

Except now, as I sit at the keyboard, my feet are cold, my arms are cold and I’m very strongly considering the comfort of a long-sleeved shirt.

Through most of my life, I’ve never minded being cold. I grew up in upstate New York. I went to school half an hour south of the Canadian border. And I weathered two Chicago winters–and an early-season game at Wrigley Field where I found out what it really means when they say it’s colder by the lake.

Cold gets inside you. It invades your body, assaulting it from all angles. The slightest eddy feels like a gust and your clothes feel useless. There’s something all-encompassing about the cold.

Emotionally, you rarely feel elated when you’re cold. Cold is a feeling of darkness and loneliness. It’s not a feeling of togetherness. It’s the opposite of warmth in all possible permutations.

Today’s exercise is simple. Write about cold. But more than just physical cold. Write about the emotional impact of the cold, too. How does your character feel? Are they resigned to the cold? Are they fighting against it and losing? Are they determined to overcome it?

Time limit: 25 minutes

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2 Comments
  1. October 3, 2012 7:11 am

    As a former Central New Yorker, I can totally relate. Thanks for this tip for my character today… and for the constant reminder that I need to be writing everyday.
    All these posts help me feel like I’m part of a writing group again. Something I desperately need to keep me on deadline.

    • Jeff Cochran permalink
      October 4, 2012 3:58 pm

      Jeez, did we all move down here to escape frostbite? Grew up in Schenectady and went to school (among others), a half hour south of Cana… Hey! Suny Plattsburgh? I was in Journalism as well, interned at the Press-Republican and decided journalism didn’t pay enough. Public TV didn’t pay any better. đŸ™‚

      Funny though, I’ve considered moving back North when I retire (5 to 30 years). I could buy a decent car up there for what I pay in flood insurance down here.

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