Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Writing Exercise #96

My friend Beau Sia has a new book out called The Undisputed Greatest Writer of All Time, and in that book is a wonderful poem called Unloaded. It shook me up when I heard it live the other night. There are so many important lines, but the one that sank the deepest was: "let your pain be a guide and not a source."

It made me think of the nesting poem (sometimes I've called it the "begat poem") I like to build. It's a poem where you open something to reveal something else. I may have posted a prompt like this before, but this time, I am going to add some specificity.

What I suggest for you, dear writer, is that you open a phrase of pain another person has placed upon you. Then write 25 lines of openings. Write until the origins of this phrase bring you to a place of understanding or empathy. Even if it isn't real, I would love for you to create a place of forgiveness or healing. Sounds super granola, right? But I promise, it'll help you.

Here's a short example:

I opened You fat bitch and out fell his teeth.
I opened his teeth and inside was a door.
I opened the door and inside was his bed.
I opened the bed and inside was a small boy.
I opened the boy and inside was a pool of sharks.
I opened the sharks and inside was silence.
I opened the silence and inside was a window.
I opened the window and inside were a row of sleeping pills.
I opened the sleeping pills and inside was his mother.
I opened the mother and inside was a dream.

you get the picture.