You know the air is getting thin in the Ireton household when I post two of my writing exercises in less than a month. It feels a little, well, self-indulgent. What can I say? I’m a wee bit sleep-deprived here, and I spend most of each day with one or two babies hanging on my breasts. Somehow, blogging doesn’t always make it to the top of my priority list.

For what it’s worth, I had a lot of fun writing this exercise: if it’s even half as much fun to read, this post won’t be a total bust.

Exercise One, called Being Gorgeous, from Ursula K. LeGuin’s fabulous book on writing, Steering the Craft, asks you to write a paragraph using alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, repetition, whatever poetic devises you care to use in order to create the most beautiful prose you can.

Here was my attempt at being gorgeous (it will help if you read it out loud):

Ross Lake

The smooth blue sheet of the lake—think robin’s eggs, fishes’ fins, summer skies—glassy, glossy, gorgeously reflects sky, trees, mountain, the line of water merging with the line of rock, a mirror image, a mirage confusing our vision as we paddle, dipping our oars into the mercury-hued water, splish splish of paddles in our ears the only sound save for the cheerful, chirruping call of a bird winging low to the lake, a flash of red against the green of fern, moss, tree, shrub; against the blue of sky, lake, sky-in-the-lake. The water parts before our boat, a shallow hollow in the liquid sky; we ease through, splish of oars again the only sound save silence. Silence. Silence surrounds us, roars in our ears like the rush of sap in the veins of vine maples, the heartbeat of a herring beneath the boat.