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Exercise: Remembering embarrassment

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingwor kshop.org/).

Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: February 7, 2002

This week's exercise falls into the "Remembering" category, where we use our own memories to help us learn how to describe various emotions or events.

"My Most Embarrassing Moment." I'm sure most of you have seen this heading in magazines from time to time. For this week's exercise, we want you to tell us about your most embarrassing moment (or if you prefer, a less embarrassing moment - but the more significant the event, the more we can learn about this emotion.).

But we want more than just a description of the incident. We want to know how it made you feel. Did you go hot? Did you go cold? And please don't tell us your face was red. No doubt it was, but then, you can't see your own face, can you? So - how did you know your face was red? How did it feel?

And what about your emotional state? Did you want to laugh? Cry? Perhaps it made you angry at the time. Show us how you felt. How do you feel about it now? Something might strike us as funny after time has passed - or it might not...

For this exercise, in 300 words or less, tell us about your most embarrassing moment, including physical and emotional reactions.


Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: February 17, 2002

This was an interesting exercise, but not nearly as many submissions as usual. Perhaps some of you have never had an embarrassing moment, or are not easily embarrassed. Or maybe you are too shy to tell us about these very painful and intimate events.

However, what were submitted were, on the whole, well done, and showed, not only the incident, but how it affected you, physically and emotionally. Little events like this are great to use in your writing, whether that writing consists of fiction or nonfiction. They can also be developed into personal essays.

Thanks to everyone who submitted or critiqued. I've enjoyed reading them all.


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