Exercise Six

Source: Can’t remember where I found it, but the exercise is to list ten random material nouns and ten random immaterial nouns. Then, connect one of each using “of” to create a series of interesting descriptions to use in a sentence.

Material Nouns: calendar, photograph, bolt, bottle, platter, book, microphone, wire, frame, sword

Immaterial Nouns: rage, honesty, happiness, childhood, angst, justice, obscurity, humility, poverty, envy

calendar of rage
photograph of humility
bolt of happiness
bottle of honesty
platter of justice
book of childhood
microphone of envy
wire of angst
frame of obscurity
sword of poverty


• Another day, another slight that hammered at his already-damaged self-confidence, and though he didn’t know it consciously, Jim had noted it on his calendar of rage, an overflowing and heavily annotated document.

• The monk was a photograph of humility — not one aspect of the man spoke of pride.

• The most disturbing aspect of her depression wasn’t the crushing weight of life that bore down on her, but the occasional bolt of happiness that would come at odd moments when everything around her seemed dull and without life.

• It was years before Mike could drink from the bottle of honesty and be refreshed by what he found within.

• The doctor had been served a meal upon the platter of justice and found the menu bitter.

• The book of childhood has a plot that is very linear — you are born, you grow old — but the genre really determines the elements in between those two points.

• Gazing upon his neighbor’s life, a little voice in the back of his head stepped up to the microphone of envy and began yelling loudly, addressing the crowd of one.

• The teenage years are characterized by a low-current wire of angst running into your brain with a low hum, and it runs twenty-four hours a day.

• Sam’s life was lived within a frame of obscurity — typical job, typical marriage, typical house in the suburbs — and the picture within was colorless and without merit.

• Painful and slow-healing are the wounds wrought by the sword of poverty.