The fourth exercise turns out to be a lot like doing exercises one & two again, except that I'm supposed to pick whatever style I want. Write something honest, then do it again. With style.
In theory, I could use the above as my "honest" thing, I suppose. Or this. Wow, look at all the writing I'm doing without getting to the point of the exercise. Or maybe this is stylish?
Lemme take this from the top.
I hate doing laundry.
I despise doing laundry. I enjoy washing clothes in much the same way that a cat enjoys being dumped in a swimming pool with four large, bored Rottweilers who have vivid memories of their past lives as mice and are looking forward to their revenge.
Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. But I don't like it.
Many minor, aggravating things conspire to make it more irritating than it has to be. To start with, I don't have my own laundry machines. I think that if I had a washer and dryer on the same floor with my clothes--next to my bedroom, say--I wouldn't mind it that much. But, no, I live on the 8th floor and the nearest washing machines are in the sub-basement.
Not just the basement--no, that would be OK because then I could simply take my laundry to the elevator, step out in the basement, throw it in, and be done. Instead, it's in a sub-basement, which means I have to haul my laundry down the long corridor to the elevator, go to the basement, haul it down another long corridor back to where the sub-basement is, and carry it down another flight of stairs to where the actual machines are.
The only good thing that can be said about this arrangement is that at least there are 10 washers and 10 dryers down there.
Because I hate doing laundry so much, my general strategy is to postpone doing it for as long as I can, and then bring every dirty scrap of cloth in the apartment when I finally bring myself to do it. (Except for the kitchen towels. I never remember to wash the kitchen towels. They just sit in the kitchen, getting increasingly dingy and dirty, until I stop using them entirely and switch to using paper towels to dry dishes).
To make the process of hauling laundry less irksome, I bought an industrial laundry cart. But, because nothing about laundry can be easy, the cart had problems. The wheels fell off. Constantly. Every month or so, Lut would glue them back on, at which point the wheels would be so stiff that they wouldn't turn and I'd have to shove the cart forward by brute force, but at least they wouldn't pop off every ten feet or so.
Then, one day, one of the loose wheels fell between the crack of the open elevator doors, and disappeared into the Great Void, presumably to join Jimmy Hoffa, Elvis Presley, and all those missing mates for my socks.
For a while, I used a wheel off of something else as an inadequate replacement for the previous cart. It was too short and fell off all the time, too, but I was kind of resigned to this by now.
Then, Lut suggested that we could at least look for a replacement wheel, or maybe just a whole new cart.
We went to Organized Living, where I'd purchased the cart.
They did not sell replacement wheels, nor, in fact, the same cart. But they did have a new laundry cart, and this one, lo and behold, came with permanently affixed wheels, rather than the assemble-it-yourself (over-and-over-and-over-again) wheels of our cart.
So I bought a new cart.
The new cart quickly proved to be ... how can I put this? A piece of crap.
Apart from the wheels, everything else about it was shoddy and in every way inferior to the old cart. The old cart I used to load up with all my clothes, Lut's clothes, blankets from the bedroom, den, and living room, towels, sheets, kitchen sinks, etc., until it was piled so high that it was taller than I was and, in fact, no part of the actual cart would be visible. It was just a massive pile of cloth that rolled. For fifteen feet, until one of the wheels came off, anyway. That cart was made of titanium-reinforced steel and it just didn't care. When I got to the basement, I'd drag it, bouncing and jouncing behind me, and apart from losing all four wheels in the process, it'd be fine.
The new cart is made out of the kind of low-grade aluminum that Reynolds rejects as not tough enough for tinfoil. Get it half-full and its legs start to bow. The front and back halves have a tendency to twist in opposite directions, so that if the back wheels are rolling along the floor, the front wheels are touching the nearest wall. If I lived in an Escher print, this might come in handy, but as I do not, it's singularly unhelpful.
Today, one of the screws holding the legs to the center struts broke. I was surprised. I'd expected the struts to snap first.
Lut replaced that screw, and the other three, with sturdier ones. I'm not entirely convinced that was the right thing to do, since that probably means the center struts will be the part that breaks next time, and they'll be harder to replace.
But Lut and I have another idea: he found a new type of glue, called "J.B. Weld", that he used to glue his car back together a few months ago. Using that, we could, perhaps, permanently affix the wheels on the old cart.
Now, if we could just find a fourth wheel for it ....
I'm supposed to do this one "a couple" more times. Lut defines "a couple" as "two to four" but I consider "a couple" to be "two". I'm gonna make the next one shorter, because at this rate I'm never going to make it to Chapter 2.
One of my cats is too thin.
To my deep and everlasting sorrow, I must confess that one of my cats, a source of radiant joy in my bleak and unworthy existence, is underweight. She is like a feather, a leaf, that might be blown away by a sudden breeze; in fact, Lut often deters her from climbing up on him by blowing at her. To stroke her is to pet a fur-covered xylophone. I have struggled, in vain, to persuade her to eat, tempting her with fattening delicacies from all over the world, or at least the pet store, but she nibbles only lightly upon any sustenance.
And then vomits most of it back up.
Part of this exercise was "notice what types of style you use". Looks like I'm focusing on "exaggeration" and "injecting humor", plus lots of details, with the occasional simile or metaphor. I'm also "poodling it up"--that is, putting in a lot of elaborate turns of phrase. That last, I think, is because I'm so conscious that I'm doing an exercise and "being stylish". In a sense, I'm trying too hard, and probably going overboard as a result.
In the last one, I picked a style deliberately from my list in the previous entry: "get flowery". Tuftears does this style quite naturally--we've used it now and again in roleplay for a particular vaguely-Arabic culture on Sinai --but it's more of a struggle for me. I figured I need the practice anyway. I think it came out okay.
Now, on to page 6!
Y'know, this is a 270 page book. I'm starting to get the idea I may not finish it by the end of June.