Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writing Exercise #60


(answer these. NO monosyllabic answers or you will cheat yourself. Oh, and DO NOT move to the next step until you have completed these.)

1. Where will you be in 100 years?

2. Something awful to find in your bedroom.

3. Write down three images from three separate fairy tales.

4. Describe the soundtrack of your childhood.

5. Write the cure for a broken heart.

6. What physical attribute of a celebrity do you wish you had? Include their name in your answer.

7. Write the materials it takes to build an unstable house.

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Make sure you've written out your answers before you move on to the next step.
If you read the next step,

you aren't going to be able to write your answers the way you need yourself to.

I'm serious. DO NOT MOVE ON to the next step until you have created the above ingredients.

I'm not joking.

Like, for real.


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1. Write seven questions you'd love to ask __________ . Each question doesn't have to be to the same person. Save one for god and one for your favorite aunt if you must, but make sure the questions are yours. Things you need the answers to. You must be curious about things. You must wonder why _____ happened, or how ______ could have ended differently.

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Once you've written out all seven of your questions, answer each one with your first list. Do the best you can to keep them in the same order. I often do this exercise with a partner (we each write down seven questions and seven answers and then I answer their first question with my first answer, no matter how ridiculous, and just go down the line.) Title the poem, "Conversations with _______" and then include an abnormal setting - think butcher shop, think the library at 3:15 a.m., think abortion clinic holiday party. Or, do something else entirely! Remember, there are NO RULES to my exercises. These steps are just to get your gears moving.

This is just one fun way to get juicy non sequiturs. This is how I come up with lines or images meant to unsettle the reader in the middle of a stanza. To remind them they are reading a poem and not the newspaper. Because isn't a poem about going to church better when "Marilyn Monroe's pinky finger" finds its way onto the collection plate?

Do whatever you want with your questions and answers but make sure it is something you would not have thought of yesterday. If you're still superduper stuck, let a Traci Brimhall poem fix you. BAM!