7:27 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to The Longest Time by Billy Joel and bopping in my chair — how can one not?
Hi, everyone. I hope all is well, whether you are having a great day, or hanging on by your fingernails. Shall we jump right in?
We are going to have fun. I realise I say this a lot, but when I write a prompt, I’m excited about the results from you. I go into each Tuesday thinking: This one they’ll find difficult or, they’ll love this one. I anticipate your poems with relish.
The idea for this one originates from an image collection that I will give you, at some point, possibly next week — yes, it is already the end of the first month in 2013. The concept of before and after occupies time and change.
Think of such things as: an apple on the tree, an apple core, and, if you wish a mid-point, the apple being eaten. How about a diet. That’s more long-term, but we have a beginning point, somewhere along the line there is a turning point, and we have an end. Or, a blank canvas and the finished painting. Does the after start with the charcoal sketching the outlines, or not until the brush is put down? Consider a recipe. Between it and the finished product, let’s say a peach pie, there are pulling out the ingredients, following the recipe steps, cooking, and the final warm, mouth-watering product. Construction…
Something more abstract, you say. How about an idea? When does an idea turn into after? Take a quarrel. There is a start point, although not necessarily clearly defined; there is the duration; and there is an after, in which the participants will have changed in some way. They won’t be the same even if the change is subtle. How about Joseph before the poetry getaway weekend he just attended, and Joseph after the getaway poetry weekend? Only he can write about it, but the changes in before and after for him will run from immense to tiny. [Thank you, Joseph ]
Between before and after there is a moment when the two meet, when the before turns into after. The answer as to when that is will be different for each of us [or maybe not]. You can write about that moment, or the whole, or concentrate more on the after. Start by listing as many befores and afters as you can think of — yes, all life is a before and after, but put that into words. Circle the three that most excite your brain, and jot possibilities. Pick one.
Decide what truth about the before and after you want to write about. What is it about your before and after you want to convey to us, your audience? Think of the form best suited to telling that truth. After all, this is a before and after. How can form help signal the difference? Is there a form better suited than free-verse? Is the point you want to make better suited to a long poem, or short? Depends on what you want from the poem and from us.
I shall see you Thursday for a thought; Friday for the prompt roundup; and next Tuesday for our image prompt.
Until then, happy writing, all.