Writing Journal – Writing Without the Muse Exercise 1


This exercise is an exercise of the memory, very useful when working on biographies, especially autobiographies. The exercise is to take one person that has been important to me and answer several questions about them. I’m not going to rewrite the exercise word for word (too tedious and slightly illegal) but I’m sure you can figure out the questions from my wording. For the victim of my scrutiny, I have chosen a member of my church parish.

1. The first five characteristics that come to mind when I think of this person are, talented, humble, fun, negotiable, and a friend.

2. He is the choir director at my church and is very good at what he does. I remember reading a book a long time back about two young men who play flutes seperately and twice afterwards together. When after the second time of playing together one young man improved greatly he felt sure that he had lost the contest. He was shocked to find it otherwise. He had been told that while the other had greater talent, it had taken their playing together for the second man to learn from him and make him greater. This is what I see in our choir director. He is great and we the choir are mediocre, but his playing is what makes us so much greater. He will take our problems and change the music to make this come out better in the end. There are many that play by the book and expect you to conform. Perhaps that would be the better way, but we’re not there to sing perfect music, we’re there to sing to God. He understands that and is always willing to work with us to get us all there together. If there is anything that needs doing, he is always one of the first to volunteer. So many times he is the one that sets up the alter before mass. He lights the candles. He sets the numbers up for the congregation to use. He plans the music. There is so much he does and he complains and no one really notices either.

3. Despite the greatness of our age differences he has always been a friend to me. He’s encouraged me, worked with me, and helped me out numerous times. He’s the one I’ve turned to with questions, requests, and even a resume contact.

4. There is very little that I can say that I’ve missed in this relationship. If he were younger or closer to me perhaps we could do things together. But there is always the chance that we wouldn’t be such friends if that were the case. I can’t really think of anything I would like to change. He’s like the big brother that I never really knew I wanted while growing up. He’s teased me and joked with me, but he’s a lot like family and in my family there’s a lot of teasing and joking.

5. Any group of months before Christmas or Easter is a prime example of when he shows himself at his best. He’s patient with us as we practice. He is deligent in working with us to get things as close to perfect as we can. But the most amazing thing is that when the time actually comes about he usually spends all day in two, playing for several masses before driving an hour to go back home. And this is usually after have just gotten off of work.


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