Assignment: Write five different story beginnings, each of them revolving around a description of snow. Try different points of view, settings, voices.
1. The flakes peck at my face, but miss my open mouth, gaping wide to the night sky for a chance at a nice, big fluff ball. I laugh and bring my head back down to earth. Snowflakes have collected on my lashes and they tickle so I brush them off. I am walking side by side with my friends and we’re all dressed head to toe in our colorful winter outfits. It is the first big snow so everyone’s excited to get out and play. Carl hoists Marilyn onto his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and spins around in circles. Marilyn’s voice is a mix of giggles and shrieks, “Carl! No!” He laughs back at her and hurls her like a shot-put into a snow bank. She goes in side ways so half her body disappears. One arm has sunk deep and she flails her other arm dramatically. I run over to her, pants swishing through the deep snow and grab hold of her hand, smiling as I pull.
2. The heater rumbles and kicks on to life. You move to be in front of the hot air it’s spewing, blocking the cat in the process. He looks grumpily up at you, clearly trying to show you his disapproval. You smirk and relax into the warmth, it’s nice to feel your fingers again! Your nose is still dripping from being out in the cold and you sniff it back in. Stepping towards the window, you pull the curtain aside. It’s still snowing out there and you hope it stops soon. You just spent the last hour and a half digging out the foot that had already accumulated. It’s a wet snow, so it’s a bit heavy and hard on your back to shovel. It was a lot of work, clearing that driveway, but you know Harold will appreciate it when he comes back from the long snowy commute.
3. John holds his shoulders up and tense, his hands deep in his pockets, “man this blows.” Mark’s not sure he entirely agrees with his grumpy friend. “Aw come on, what do you mean? It’s not that bad.” John shuffles along in silence as Mark rattles off their plan for the evening. It’s a Friday night and John would much rather of stayed in and drank and been warm, but Mark wasn’t going to let that happen. Not on a Friday night. John’s shoes press through the slush and he can already feel the dampness seeping through to his feet. They enter the first bar on Mark’s list and John brushes the snow off his hat and stamps his feet.
4. The trees are shorter up here in the mountains, their growth stunted by the harsh climate. Only the conifers draped in needles enjoy the view of the valley below. It is winter now, so instead of pointed trees, they are now blobs of white frosting in a pristine white outdoor palace. Lower down the mountain, the trees are taller, more spread out, and bare of leaves. The snow falls in clumps and sprinkles onto the fur of a lone coyote, resting in the alcove of a boulder. The coyotes ears perk, alert for sounds of prey, but finally bend backward and down. He gives his coat a shake in irritation, tossing snowy dust everywhere.
5. Settled in your chair, you sip your tea, and stare out the window into the backyard. You adjust your glasses, the snow hides everything out there. It covers and rounds out everything so that all you’re left with is wondering what’s underneath. You know the old tires are out there stacked and that your good dog Roy is buried out there somewhere, but now you can’t tell where. Even though the sun has set and it’s getting dark, the snow is still there and it’s just old news.