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PART ONE: Take a pad of paper and a pen or pencil. Go outside and look around. Write

a paragraph describing your surroundings.

The sun shines down on the lake creating shimmers of diamonds on the water. They dance and shimmy as the water wanders gently toward the north shore. The air is crisp and cool, cleansed by the previous night’s gentle rainfall. Ferns scattered across the pine needle blanket lawn wave good morning to the day ahead.

Inside I hear the hum of NPR through the static on the ancient radio, occasionally punctuated by the clatter of my mother putting away last night’s clean dishes. My dad hollers from the bathroom in frustration, “I can’t find my toothpaste, Rita!”

PART TWO: Now, you are a lost six year-old child. Rewrite the same description from

this point of view.

I wander toward the porch of this big house. My footsteps crunch the pine needles beneath my feet. Woodland creatures skittle in the woods behind me, and in the distance, a bird I don’t recognize calls out to its mate. Maybe someone here can help me find my way home. As I round the corner of the house toward the porch, the lake stretches out in front of me. Diamonds! There are diamonds on this lake! Surely in a place this grand, someone can help me find my way home.

Now, you are a satisfied housecat. Rewrite the same description from this

point of view.

This sun is perfect. I intend to sit in this very spot all day long. From here, I can watch the diamonds on the water dance, and keep my eyes peeled for critters trying to get at my people. I’ll teach them to go after what’s mine! This is MY house, my people, my sun, and my porch. What’s that? I tilt my head and sniff the gentle breeze. Chipmunk. He’ll stay away, if he knows what’s good for him. Even those crumbs under the table are mine. Satisfied that he has noticed me and will keep a respectful distance, I curl my head beneath my tail and fall contentedly to sleep.

Now, you are a fifteen year-old whose parents just announced they are

divorcing. Rewrite the same description from this point of view.

The breeze picks up momentum and slaps me in the face with her cool, crisp hand. I plop down on the porch steps and stare out over the water. The diamonds on the lake, which usually bring me comfort, seem to laugh at me. “Grow up, kid!” They seem to say. “Lake diamonds aren’t real. We are just the sun reflected on shifting water. Like your life, we look one way, but are another. We are false, just like your family. Try to touch us and we vanish under the waves. Just like your family.”