Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writer's Sketchbook

As a designer, I kept a daily sketchbook. I’d practice perspective, detail, shading, or just draw a subject that caught my fancy. 

As a writer, I keep a situational sketchbook. I jot down dialogue, settings, characters, conflicts, and specific details that intrigue me, and may find a place in a story. I hate to lose or miss anything juicy that I experience so I pop it in my writer's sketchbook to pluck later.

I just finished a three-day stint in the hospital, so of course I sketched my experience with words. In my writer’s sketchbook, I chronicle in bullet points. Here’s a peek:

HOSPITAL DAYS
  • Nurse #1 hates me. Her upper lip curls at me all snarly
  • No matter how you arrange the hospital gown, you always flash your hiney
  • All hospital meat is a weird version of turkey meatloaf
  • Nurse #1 has one eye bigger than the other
  • Hospitals are not for sleeping
  • The show NURSE JACKIE is not available on the hospital TV
  • Nurse #1 will abandon you on the commode for an hour – take reading material
  • Graveyard shift male nurses are the most entertaining
  • “I will ask your doctor. I will ask the nurse. I will make no decisions.”
  • Nurse #1 works more hours than anyone else
  • Flesh-eating tape is used for wound dressings
  • Beware of nurses who don’t wear athletic shoes
  • Nurse #1 smells like the 99 Cents store
  • There is some weird covenant against daily patient teeth-brushing
  • Catheter, I.V., Bedpan, oh my.
  • Nurse #1 will require mental leave time if we are together one more day


What does your writer’s sketchbook look like?

17 comments:

  1. OMG LESLIE I'm laughing so hard it hurts. Nurse number one will make an appearance in a future WIP I predict. And boy what a character. Fair game after leaving you in the bathroom for an hour.

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  2. I agree with Lisa! What that heck with leaving you for an hour? I think each nurse should be required to be treated the way you're treated, including eating the questionable meat.

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  3. Oh, Julie, I like your eye for an eye way of thinking.

    My goal in life is to make you laugh, Lisa. Nurse #1 will feel my wrath in print one of these days.

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  4. Love this (though I'm sure it wasn't all sunshine and roses and basking in your notes)! Nurse #1 is begging to be a character in your book (if not, can I borrow the "one eye bigger than the other" trait for my villain?).

    As for hospital meat...I completely agree with you :) It's best to have family/friends sneak in take-out.

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  5. Jess, you found the secret blog giveaway - the one eye bigger than the other prize. It's yours. :)

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  6. I needed a good laugh today. Thanks.

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  7. Reminds me somehow of Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar. ;) Glad you're out of the hospital.

    I'm a sucker for Moleskines (all different colors) and mine are filled with strange notes and words with no context. Like "yellow bird" or "glittering water." Usually I can't later remember what I was referring to. :)

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  8. Great sketch book, Leslie. Mine doesn't have anything as colorful, although I sometimes doodle along the sides and my mood becomes the marginalia. Very interesting to look back and see what I was feeling on a day when everything in my book was a have-to-do list.

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  9. LOL, Lee. I have post-its all over my mirror with words and statements. I'm so sure at the time I'll never forget why I wrote them, but then the big "huh" hits my brain when I look at them later.

    C. Lee - I'm an insane doodler. I never know what really goes on at the staff meetings at work since I'm busy "enhancing" the agenda handout with my art.

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  10. Oh dear, I was simultaenously wincing for you and laughing at the same time. Hope you're feeling better now!

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  11. G.F. - If I can ever get all the tape residue from the incision dressing off, I'll be perfect!

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  12. Nurse #1 needs to quit or retire!! And it seems there's always a nurse #1 - even when everyone else in the building is amazing! Hope all is well! :)

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  13. Jemi - Thanks for the good thoughts. Yes, Nurse #1 should go work for the DMV.

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  14. This is a great idea! Way to have fun with less-than-fun circumstances, and get some good details for writing, too

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  15. Thanks, Margo. It's the closest I'll ever get to being Maxwell Smart, secret agent.

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  16. I've been so scarce the last couple months!!! Sorry you were in the hospital, but I love your sketches. What a great idea!

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  17. Welcome back to blogland, W.C.

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