Close your eyes and imagine a kitchen. Any kitchen. Now open. Which kitchen sprang first to mind?
That’s your kitchen. You’ll be writing two or three paragraphs about that kitchen.
Whose eyes do you see through? The kitchen above looks like it’s from the view of a child. Perhaps you imagine one kitchen in particular: grandmother’s, your own house, your cousin’s kitchen, your neighbours. Perhaps you pulled it out of nowhere. That’s good too.
Whatever you imagine in your kitchen, exaggerate it a little. Flowers on the wall? Now what’ve you got?
If you were painting this kitchen on canvas, would you use warm hues or cool? What’s the weather like outside the window? Are you cold? Or is it a mid-summer’s day?
This kitchen looks as if someone’s just moving in or just moved out. What has just happened in your kitchen? What is about to happen? And most importantly, what’s happening now?
Is there anyone else in that kitchen? What are they saying to each other, if anything? Perhaps there’s just a cat. Or the dog, or a line of ants marching across the floor to an open jar of jam left on the bench.
Is this a well-used kitchen, or the kitchen of someone who looks as if they’re always out to dinner?
If there are magnets and notes on the fridge, what do they say?
Untidy kitchens are more interesting. Pick a few details and describe. Just a few, mind. You’re not writing a photograph.
What would this kitchen smell like? What about your kitchen? What was the last thing eaten here? Can you still smell cooking aromas lingering? Maybe you smell smoke, or grass clippings from outside, or cleaning products.
Let your mind camera zoom in to the smallest detail. What can you see now that you didn’t see before? If you can’t remember details, make them up.
This used to be someone’s kitchen. What happened? Where are the people now?
[I] Note how personalised and peopled the material world is at a level almost beneath scrutiny. I’m thinking of the cutlery in the drawer or the crockery I every morning empty from the dishwasher. Some wooden spoons, for instance, I like, think of as friendly; others are impersonal or without character. Some bowls are favourites; others I have no feeling for at all. There is a friendly fork, a bad knife and a blue and white plate that is thicker than the others and which I think of as taking the kick if I discriminate against it by using it less
- Alan Bennett, 2001 diary entry, 8 January