Saturday, April 9, 2011

Writing Exercise # 35

I was thinking a lot about lineage yesterday. About how I don't know much of where I come from. Seeing photos of my [maternal] great-grandparents for the first time yesterday clued me in on small things. I know where my brother gets his nose, where my youngest daughter gets her bone structure.

Of course, we inherit much more than physical features. Which brings me to this exercise...


1. Write down any habits or personality traits that you know you inherited from someone in your family. If you did not grow up with blood relatives, imagine which parts of you were inherited from your birth mother/father, or a distant relative.

2. Write down three spectacular forces of Nature.

3. Write down five objects you equate with either of these words: violence, power, strength.

- - -

This poem can start from anywhere. And by "anywhere," I mean, before you were born, when you were born, shortly after you were born, six years after you were born. Explain the passing down of things (#1). If it's something your great-grandmother hid in a crack in the ceiling, put it there. Explain the day you discovered it. The day you needed it - when the kids chased your brother home from school, during your first kiss, after experiencing that first funeral...

Inherit at least one thing from #2. Or use one of those forces to explain something of or inside you. (Note: whether you choose an animal or a cyclone, make sure you have one of the "things" gather inside you in a large group. Want help with the names of groups of things? HERE YOU GO. It's fun to switch 'em up, so that your fists become a sleeping flock of horses, or your mouth is a wreck of loose kisses.)

Pass some of your traits to other people. Perhaps a daughter, or a son, or a friend who needs it. Shoot, give it to a movie star who needs it. Some wicked celebrity, some soft politician.Give it to them like you would give # 3 to someone. Include the warning or safety measures. Describe where to hide it. How to conceal it among every day attire. Have fun, people. We are all full of amazing things, some we cannot control. So let's ride 'em out of ourselves, and write them into our art.


(This exercise was inspired by both the interview and the poem here. Jan Beatty is A MIRACLE BEAST. Buy her books. She is perfect.)