5:21, Wednesday, 3 November, 2010 – Atlanta.
I got so wrapped up in patting myself on the back for figuring out how to add links to other sites on my blog; and typing up a couple of poems, as well as mentally planning a couple of others; and ordering a couple of Christmas things; and talking with my mom; and getting supper going, that I figured I must have done everything…then a brain cell said: Blog?
I feel like a bear with very little brain [thank you Winnie the Pooh!] and am looking over some topics I have listed to write about and thinking: No! Nope! Nah!
So rather than think I shall give you another exercise and let you think. Writers spend much of their time collecting: words, phrases, lines, images. You need to open your mind to a state where it automatically collects things. I carry a pocket size notebook for those moments my mind signals me there is something worth collecting. And, yes, I spend a lot of time stopping and jotting things down. Don’t ever kid yourself you will remember. I have lost some good lines that way. I keep a notebook next to the bed and have learned to write legibly in the dark [although you could also keep a small flashlight with the notebook].
The exercise is a writing scavenger hunt. It comes partly from Susan Wooldridge’s book Poemcrazy, and partly from me:
“Let yourself be a kid. Write your name some way you’ve never written it before. Draw your name. Use colored pens or pencils./Go somewhere outside and turn over a stone./List in detail what’s under the stone…/Notice three things in someone’s face. Write down what you have seen./Notice anything that spirals, from the corkscrew to the pasta to the weather patterns in the news./Write a series of images without stopping. Make some of them absurd. The snow is black today. It’s been raining paint. My dog is singing La Boheme.” Wooldridge
Open a spice or herb jar and rub a bit between your fingers. Put the smell into words. Or go outside and rub a leaf or pine needles./ Without looking up write down every image you can remember from your surroundings. Look up and write down what you forgot./Go somewhere where there are sounds and sit with your back to the sounds. Jot down every sound you hear and try to identify what makes the sound. /Go to your collection of books and list the titles./ Walk around and write down every colour you see along with the noun it modifies. Pick something with a strong or specific taste. Close your eyes and put it in your mouth. Chew carefully while focusing on it. Then put the taste in words. If you have trouble describing the sensory images, compare what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting to something. We’ll talk more about metaphor and simile later.