This exercise is one I picked up from “Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques” by James Hynes.
Objective: Describe an object, building, or landscape (a thing) with the intent of revealing an emotional state without stating the state (example: a parent who has just lost a child without saying anything specific about the loss of the child).
Tougher one. Here goes.
The bricks were gray. Not a soothing gray, like gentle clouds, but a depressing gray, like the ash from a burned building. And the doorway looked like a toothless maw, an endless orifice that could swallow all that was good in the world. The darkness beyond was limitless. An infinite black. To think how it could swallow such light. Unfathomable. A repository for all lost hope. A singular location for destroyed dreams. I couldn’t take my eyes from it as I stepped back. How could one edifice hold such cruelty?
The building was not tall. Nor was it broad. Small even. But big enough. Big enough. How could something that small consume so much? Hope goes in. Nothing comes out. And yet the interior was as empty as my heart. Nothing inside anymore. You enter with hope. You come out with ashes. Nothing remains, all is consumed. No more sounds of laughter. No more pattering of feet. No more silly shouting. No more games. No more stories. Nothing.
They call it hospital. Shelter for the needy? Shelter from what? Not this. No shelter at all from this. Not for me. A guest house? The only guest is the ash cloaked fellow with the scythe. That and his customers. In the French it even sounds like hope. What a joke. A joke on me. A cruel, endless joke. But no one is laughing. Not anymore. All the sweet laughter has been forever silenced.