8:08 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to My Little Town, with Simon and Garfunkel
Hi, everyone. I hope your weather is as stunningly gorgeous as mine. I want some place with this weather always! I know, I know, let’s get back to reality. Today’s prompt will be the last heavy-duty prompt until January, given that so many of you will be part of NaNoWriMo in November, and December is a whack month. I’ll be looking for light exercises that play more to prose during November.
For today, we deal with emotions. There are many things we can, and do, write that we only know what we see, or have read, or have heard about. It’s hard to do that with emotions. How our speaker feels about what s/he is saying has to ring true. Otherwise, why should our readers buy into it?
List the emotions you have felt, at one time or another. As you list, if specific moments appear in your mind, jot those moments down. If, as you jot, specific feelings arise, write those down. The more jotting, the more fodder for poems.
Choose one that you want to play with. Can you remember something that allows you to reinhabit the emotion, literally? The something can be else. Like actors searching their emotional banks for anything like what they want to feel [as they need to ring true for things they may never have undergone, but need to sound as if they have], you can pull on different resources to recreate the feeling you remember, but that is faint, now. Although, if you threw a plate against a wall, yesterday, out of sheer frustration, you can probably reinhabit that emotion without difficulty. The trick is stepping back enough to analyse the components.
Let yourself and your writing wander. Now write how you really felt when undergoing your chosen emotion. Mentally? Physically? What happens?
Write a poem that recalls the/an event with this emotion. Or, thread aspects of the emotion through a poem on another subject, entirely. Whether the story is yours, or someone else’s, you want to create a speaker with a clear voice. Whether the story is yours, or someone else’s, you may certainly change details to fit the poem you see. The thing here is to recreate an emotion while writing about something. While I am asking you to strip naked for your mental workings, even for your notes, remember, always, that you are using the material as a tool and may do anything you wish with it. You aren’t writing about the emotion. You are letting the emotion come through your writing.
I had a student, many years ago. He was a junior, taking my creative writing class. He had a bit of a reputation as a bad boy. I had asked the class to describe an emotion and he was giving me grief. He didn’t know how to go about it. I walked his way, needling him. By the time I got to his desk, he had steam coming out his ears. I asked whether he was angry at me. He practically stuttered his yes. Then I asked him to turn inwards and tell me, literally, how he felt. He didn’t stop writing for twenty minutes. I’m grinning as I write this. We were both pleased with ourselves.
Give it a try. The objective, as always, is to stretch our writing muscles, to learn what we do well, and not so well. If all you manage with this is a series of notes, but they show the emotion[s], put them in an order, tell us that, and post. Exercises never have to be complete. This is a working arena. The people who read your blogs will understand this, if you tell them. Yes, I am cajoling .
I shall see you Thursday for stuff [that's the short version]; Friday, for the week’s round-up; and, next Tuesday for a visual prompt.
Happy writing, everyone.