Welcome to How to Keep Writing Wednesdays, where you'll find a boost of encouragement to help you keep the words flowing.

Found Objects

Do you know what a found object is? Borrowed from the French (objet trouvé), it’s a term most frequently used by artists, referring to an object that has a non-art function but has been modified or transformed into an art form. It’s up to the artist to decide how to re-interpret the object.

Think about a wooden spoon. The artist may play off of its original purpose—cooking something up, stirring the pot—or it may be emotional in nature—the warmth of a home-cooked meal. It’s possible, too, to transform it into something entirely new—the wooden spoon becomes a tool for a scribe, a picket fence, a police baton. The meaning can be simple or complex. It’s all up to the artist.

Novels are all about found objects. What looks like a normal day is not. A simple dinner at the bowling alley turns into a marriage proposal. An odd, reclusive neighbor is a superhero in disguise. A deadly drug becomes the only thing that can save the world. What might originally seem one way gets transformed by the writer into something else entirely. As extreme as some of these examples may seem, they resonate with us because we’ve all lived life long enough to know this: things are not always black and white or absolute, even when we want them to be. Things change, and so do people.

Interested in exploring how found objects can unlock your creativity? Check out my Found Objects: Micro Memoir Workshop.