Reading & Writing

Writing Exercise: Flamingo

Do you ever get words stuck in your head? I’ve heard it’s a symptom of OCD (though if you look up a full list of OCD symptoms you’ll probably un-diagnose yourself). There was a time in my life when these words plagued me. I’d read the name of a chemical on a shampoo bottle in the morning and it would play over and over and over and over, whenever my mind was quiet.

This morning, for no reason at all, I thought of the word “flamingo.” Flamingo, flamingo, flamingo. And just as it was starting to get annoying I though, “Maybe I could use this.”

So the challenge this week is to write something using a repetitive word. I know it can work when wielded by the right writer–just read something by Robert Lopez and you’ll see what I mean. (Seriously, though, read Robert Lopez anyway. He’s amazing.)

Here’s mine:

The flock of flamingos is especially pink today. Lots of shrimp in their diet, or krill, or krill shrimp. I don’t know. I stand at the railing with my bag of popcorn, wondering if they’d like some. Flamingos. Flaming flamingos. Full and feathered, flaming flamingos.

There’s a little girl next to me. Five or six. “Flamingos!” she shouts to whatever grown-up belongs to her. She presses her face to the partition. “Flamingos!”

I turn to face her. I might be smiling. “Flamingos,” I say.

She looks at me. “Flamingos,” she says. She might be younger than five, or maybe something’s wrong with her. I never can tell.

“Flamingos,” I say, a little louder.

“Flamingos!” she squeals.

“Flamingos!” I shout.




Her grown-up grabs her shoulders and takes her away. “Don’t talk to strangers, honey.”

And now everyone is looking at me, even the flamingos.

As always, I encourage you to share yours in the comments! I’d love to read them!


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