8:03a.m. — Atlanta
How appropriate. My cloud player is playing The Rascals singing It’s a Beautiful Morning. Hopefully it’s a beautiful some part of your day.
As I looked at the warm-up prompt a couple of days ago, I realised that maybe it’s more of a heat-up prompt. If you are expecting something gentle… ah well. Remember, as always, if you come up with a rough draft, or even a list, and you don’t want to publish it on your blog, because it’s too unfinished, then post it in comments, here. This is a working site and we are all constantly working on drafts. However, for you speedy ones, publish away on your blogs!
Today’s exercise has the virtue of being a form, without having been admitted to the increasingly lengthening list of forms. Further virtues: no rhyme scheme, no syllable count, no metre. Sound good? The form is taken from poet Ron Padgett [part of whose poem I use below, as an example] and is referred to as an Event Poem.
Your job is to make up new, creative, even fantastic, uses for something.
A) Look around you, or look around your mind, and choose something, to start. Maybe you chose a sunflower, a wine glass, a pillow… Whatever you choose, list four or five previously unthought of uses for it. Begin each use with an imperative — an active verb– as if you are listing directions for someone, as to its possible use.
Pineapple (Ron Padgett)
1. Cut the leaves of a pineapple, use it as a soccer ball to kick into a goal.
2. Hollow out the pineapple, fill it with pebbles, shake it like a maraca and create reggae music.
3. Pluck out ten leaves, polish them, and wear them as fingernails to a Halloween party.
4. Cut out five of the little round lozenges on the pineapple skin and sew them on your jacket as buttons.
5. Peel the skins off 100 pineapples and glue them to the floor as tiles.
B) Add a couple of lines about how your chosen thing looks. Remember to begin each line with an imperative.
6. Look at the pineapple. It looks like the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
7. Stare at the pineapple. Do you see the face of the monster?
C) Bring in other sensory details. Add a line or two about how the thing feels, or smells, or sounds. Continue beginning each line with an imperative verb.
8. Touch the pineapple. It feels like a suede sneaker on the foot of a very large child.
D) Now you can play. You have your material. Add to it. Subtract from it. Yank lines. Rearrange them. Place them in any order you think sounds, or feels right. Leave the numbers, or not.
If any of you are panicking, as I panicked, because this is all about metaphor, I am here to tell you that you can do this [the wild and wacky version], but you don’t have to. Below is a draft of the first event poem I tried to write [over the summer]. You will notice that there is nothing wild and wacky. This led me to the conclusion that what we pick for this type of poem is important. My second event poem was more successful in the wild and wacky arena: I chose chinchillas. [I have submitted it, or that would be here as an example.]
Draft of an event poem ala Ron Padgett:
Things To do With a Stone
Pick up a stone to use as a paperweight.
Dip the stone in water and watch the colours relume.
Look close at the stone and notice the veining that carries its story.
Hold the stone flat and tickle it across the water’s surface.
Stare at the stone until it speaks its beauty to you.
Polish the stone until it becomes a jewel.
Place the stone close to your nostrils; smell the sun’s warmth.
Rub the stone with your fingers; feel its blood pulse.
So go to it. I look forward to reading fresh and original uses for things, whether straightforward, or wild and crazy. Enjoy.
I shall see you Thursday for Your Serendipity; Friday, for the roundup; and next Tuesday for an image.
Happy writing, everyone.