Monday, March 14, 2011

In Memory of Sylvia Beach

Upon reading the Writer's Almanac today, I learned that it is the birthday of book publisher Sylvia Beach, who ran a lending library in France during World War II.  To learn more about Sylvia Beach, please read the Writer's Almanac at this link:

I like Ernest Hemmingway's description of Sylvia Beach.  It is quoted from The Writer's Almanac as this:

"Sylvia had a lively, sharply sculptured face, brown eyes that were as alive as a small animal's and as gay as a young girl's, and wavy brown hair that was brushed back from her fine forehead and cut thick below her ears and at the line of the collar of the brown velvet jacket she wore. She had pretty legs and she was kind, cheerful and interested, and loved to make jokes and gossip. No one that I ever knew was nicer to me."

Writing Practice Prompt:  Think of someone you know and write a short description like the paragraph above.  Or create a new character starting with a paragraph similar to the one above.  Notice that there is one comparison to an animal (Hemmingway observes "brown eye's that were alive as a small animal's," but you can pick a specific animal for comparing one aspect of the person to).  Make sure you describe something about what the character might wear, and put in a personality trait (like "make jokes and gossip").  And of course, add in anything else you would like.

Poetry Prompt: FIRST write out a paragraph like instructed above.  Then make it into a poem, just a simple poem that describes someone, but try to make the last line surprising.

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