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The first writing activity that I’m going to share, is one of my absolute favorites! I say this because the experience was so much fun and I had some of my best creative work come out of it. One of my best guy friends, Franco, is an incredibly creative writer. He lives for fiction and happens to write the best fictional work I know of. Most of my writing activities will be from our experiences together, so, thanks, Franco!

The activity is best with two or more people but can be done alone. Find a place with books and for an even better time, find a place that offers books and alcohol. The place we went to is sadly no longer open. If anyone knows of a place like this in San Diego, please let me know in the comments below.

Once you’re set up with the writing medium and drink, of your choice, take your friend(s) to the wall of books. Each person deliberately picks a book for someone else. It’s the perfect opportunity to truly judge a book by it’s cover. Once everyone is back at the writing table, exchange books. The book receiver can look at the cover and title of the book, but may not look inside or read anything about the book. (If you have read the book or heard of it, put it back and have your friend grab a new one. I promise it’s much more fun this way.) As a group, you can set the rules for the piece. For example:

  1. Story takes place on a different planet
  2. The protagonist is a cat
  3. It is a romance story

OR what’s even more fun? Rule #1, there are no rules. Utilizing the title, the look of the cover, and any of the rules set, write a short fictional story. ALWAYS SET A TIME LIMIT. (Give the table at least 10 minutes.)

After the time is up, give a grace period to finish up the last thoughts, or don’t, then switch stories with someone else. Once everyone finishes reading each other’s stories, read what the books were actually about.

Seriously, I love this writing activity so much! I have five fictional stories saved that I always come back to and edit or add to, from the night that Franco and I did it. It must be noted that we drank beer alongside each book chosen and story written, so there’s that.

Here’s one of the pieces I wrote that night. I have since added so much more to it! I’m telling you, this writing activity is just so much fun and is a great way to spark inspiration.

In Pursuit Of Valis

Valis, a dimension of existence that isn’t unattainable, but incredibly difficult for common folk to reach. I, being said common folk, have lived my entire life in the same dimension and have spent most of said life, yearning for Valis. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be apart of it. I told my Mom I wanted to go there when I was 4, just to visit. When I was in middle school I rode my bike three blocks away to the edge of my neighborhood, where it met the desert, because I thought that was where Valis was. On my 16th birthday, I was convinced that just because I turned 16, at midnight I would close my eyes and reopen them magically in Valis. Now, I’m a 30-year-old mess and have never wanted to leave this plane of existence as bad as I do now. I’ve spent the past few months researching my escape, but all I’ve found are chat rooms of other 30 something-year-old messes trying to find something all the rest of society doesn’t believe in.
The current plane of existence, reality, is okay I guess. The track home neighborhood I grew up in still welcomes newcomers with homemade blueberry muffins and has a block party every 4th of July. Everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything about everyone in the neighborhood. My neighbor to the right is an asshole, but I still smile every time I bring in my mail. My neighbor across the street is also my city’s mayor, who works diligently in teaching sustainability to the community. My neighbor to the left is my childhood best friend and someone I thought I would eventually marry, but she’s been missing for two weeks now.

Also, also, also! Below I’ve provided some info for you in case you give a fuck about what’s in the photo above.
Photo by: Devin Jenkins
Location: Eve | Encinitas
Laptop stickers: Little Woman Goods Top & Overalls: Poshmark


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