- Pick someone you know and describe their appearance in as much detail as you can. Write for ten minutes.
- Write for ten more minutes about what they do in life and how they engage with the world in general.
- Now write about your connection with this person.
" But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull's voice..."
You could use your descriptions to make a poem about the person, bringing in similes and metaphors as Norman MacCaig does in his poem Aunt Julia -
"She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot".
You don't have to write a poem, the exercise is complete in itself. The process helps to clarify thoughts and feelings about a person and can move from a negative perception to a more positive understanding.
The first two parts could also be useful for creating and developing fictional characters.
I'm not sure where this exercise originated. A colleague passed it on to me several years ago. I've found it helpful personally and used it many times with groups since. (Thanks Aisha!)