Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where Do I Get My Ideas? The ORACLE

 Whenever I'm in a dry spell and I need something to jump-start my writing, I do what the ancient Greeks did when they needed a spiritual boost: I visit the ORACLE.

The ORACLE stands for: Outrageous Ridiculous And Crazy Literary Exercises.  To the untrained eye, it looks like old, wooden box shaped like a treasure chest.  Like this:

 But when you open it, there's tons of stuff inside to help me start writing.  While the contents of the ORACLE tend to change from time to time (I take stuff out and put new stuff in), there are some staples that stay the same.  Here's a sampling of what my ORACLE looked like a few months ago.

Stuff that's in the ORACLE right now:
  • Postcards
  • Images clipped from magazines
  • Word box: a small plastic Chinese food box containing slips of paper, each with one word on it.
  • Dice (lots and LOTS of dice)
  • Deck of cards (to play solitaire while my brain incubates an idea.)  Did I mention I've written writing prompts on each card?  That way even when I'm procrastinating my brain is getting some creative juice.
  • Pack of paint chips (which you can get for free at hardware or paint stores!)
  • Tarot cards with pretty illustrations.
  • Creative Whack Pack (cards with creativity prompts on them)
  •  Fortune cookie slips.
Of course, the ORACLE--being a bulky wooden box--isn't exactly conducive to writing on-the-go.  I've since also created a PORTACLE (portable oracle) that includes just a handful of postcards with prompts on the back, a Beat Sheet Cheat Sheet, dice and an un-sharpened pencil (to symbolize all the writing that I have yet to do).

So, yeah, when it comes to thinking up ideas, I have no excuses with an ORACLE like this at my fingertips.  All I can do is choose something at random and start writing.


Sarah Tokeley said...

What a fabulous idea. It certainly beats my folder of news stories :-)

Charmaine Clancy said...

That's a great idea to use in the classroom too!
Wagging Tales