Currently Reading: “Pottery Barn Catalogue Descriptions Written by an Aspiring Crime Novelist,” by Kate Hahn

This essay, from McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, is exactly what the title suggests. Hahn takes pieces of furniture that could be and probably have been found in Pottery Barn catalogues and writes about them as if they were items in a crime novel as well as the catalogue. For example:10

“Our Newport Double Sink Console has turned legs and a white finish reminiscent of a cozy beachside cottage, but tight quarters can ignite tempers. Beside the porcelain sink, M and A’s monogrammed towels lie folded haphazardly, as if tossed down in anger. Clearly, the Carrera marble countertop, imported from Tuscany, was too painful a daily reminder for M of A’s “secret” Italian lover. PB Essential towels in 13 colors, ideal for mopping up crimes of passion, can be stored in the cozy cubby below the cabinets” (Hahn).

While it’s a bit dark, the contrast makes for humorous reading. It also provides great inspiration if you’re looking for a way to get the creative juices flowing! Try taking something “boring” and writing it in a different genre or tone. Write your course syllabi as horror stories. Write your to-do list as a presidential speech. Write your holiday wish list as an advertisement, rap, or screenplay cast list. Have some fun, do the unexpected, and just see what happens. If you like what comes from the exercise, work with it some more and see where it can go. If you don’t, I hope it got the creativity buzzing so you can start your next project with your best foot forward.

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