Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Journal Assignment I: Observations

Writers need to warm up, just as athletes and musicians do. While this assignment may not seem to have much to do with writing your life story, it does have to do with an important first step: regular journal writing. The idea is to find at least a few minutes every day or so to write: not for the public, but for yourself. If you're already a writer, you know this. As I try to get this blog started, I plan to offer an occasional writing assignment (strictly voluntary, of course) and ask you to share an occasional journal entry when you're ready. What's more, I'll begin each assignment by sharing at least one of my own journal entries. Pick any assignment you like, or make up your own.

Every day you read, hear, see, or experience something interesting--perhaps not world-shaking, but interesting. You hear an outrageous statement on radio or TV, or you see a clever advertising sign, or a strange phenomenon, or you meet an interesting person. You read something enlightening or shocking or just plain interesting. Write about it, perhaps one hundred or two hundred words or so. Here is what I wrote this morning:

Clothes Make the Man--or Woman!

A trendy men's clothing store on my block features a chalk-white mannequin in each window wearing only a sign that reads, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little influence in this world." -- Mark Twain. How true!

As usual, Mark Twain, one of my favorite writers, got it right. I'm sure that the store owners are emphasizing business and political and social influence for their well-dressed young male customers, but have you ever considered how important clothes are to us "wrinklies"? (I got that term from Christopher Buckley's satire,

Consider the typical senior body, male or female, naked. Ugh! Yes, I admire the real women in the Dove ads, but most of us don't look that good, at least after 70. I surely don't!

I'm one of those rare women who hate to shop, so my wardrobe lacks a lot in style. Also, it seems a little late in life for me to have much influence in the world, unless I can help others a bit.

Still, I am very thankful for clothes, all clothes. They not only keep me warm during a Chicago winter, but they hide my many body flaws. It's amazing how much better a simple pants suit can make me look!

That trendy store is targeting neither senior men nor women of any age, but its window signs speak to us all. While some people may over-emphasize style to the detriment of their budgets and their schedules, Mark Twain was right. What would we do without clothes?

To read what I wrote about an article in today's newspaper, go to today's post in my other blog, "Never too Late!" (you'll find a link on the left). Now, it's your turn. Write a journal entry and share it via e-mai. Put "Write your Life" in the subject line. You can find my e-mail address by going to my "Complete Profile" link here under "About Me." I hope to share the best contributions , but if you don't want that, just say so when you e-mail me. And click on "comments" below to let me know what you think about this blog and this assignment. I'll hope to hear from you!

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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