Tuesday Tryouts: Before & After

22 Jan

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.

ocal11949861182029597463an_apple_01.svg.thumbThe 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. ocal11949841511552878171apple_bitten_dan_gerhard_01.svg.thumb[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 ocal1194986121678838258apple_core_01.svg.thumbwant 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.



Posted by on 22/01/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , ,

29 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Before & After

    • vivinfrance

      22/01/2013 at 10:35 am

      Rosross: already? I’m still trying to get my head round the concept!

      • margo roby

        22/01/2013 at 11:19 am

        With you, ViV, my mind always leaps to quilts. Think of the before, when all the pieces lie around you, and the after with its all together magnificence. Consider the in between.

        • vivinfrance

          22/01/2013 at 11:26 am

          Are you psychic, Margo? This popped up as I was about to publish a picture (Quilt Gallery 2 in my header bar) of an old quilt I made which has had quite a history. It will take me ages to write the poem, though!

          • margo roby

            22/01/2013 at 11:30 am

            Sometimes, ViV!

            So take ages and come back. I’m here. One possibility for not taking ages is to give the context in prose and then say what you want in poem form.

          • vivinfrance

            22/01/2013 at 11:30 am

            It’s up now, and here’s the link. Now to get my brain in gear….

    • margo roby

      22/01/2013 at 3:31 pm

      Chortle. I’m coming.

    • Misky

      23/01/2013 at 3:32 pm

      Barbara, would kindly tell me how you created the indents in your poem without the use of oodles of ……………….. those? Thanks! πŸ™‚

      • barbara_y

        26/01/2013 at 12:37 pm

        Short answer, Misky: in the Visual Editor, second row, pulldown menu “paragraph”—choose “preformatted”. Paste in your poem. It will give you a colored background, and the font won’t be the same as the rest of your blog, but your spaces, indents, etc will not be altered.

  1. Emma at LLM Calling

    22/01/2013 at 3:28 pm

    what an amazing prompt, this really connected with me this evening, it’s a three section haiku poem and it’s heaven sent

    • margo roby

      22/01/2013 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you, Emma. I enjoyed coming up with it. I’m on my way over.

  2. Hannah Gosselin

    22/01/2013 at 5:21 pm

    Yee-haw!! I’ll warn ya right now…I broke the rules? Maybe. It’s not a poem but it is on topic!! πŸ™‚ Buckle your seat-belt tighten your grip on those reigns!! Ha ha!! No, it’s not that bad…just a little glimpse of the inside of my mind! πŸ™‚

    Smiles to ya’ll, (I thought I’d try out some western lingo fer fun!), thanky for the prompt, Margo!! πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      22/01/2013 at 5:41 pm

      Uh oh. She’s been at the moonshine again. I’m off to make supper, but I’ll deal with you later, young lady πŸ˜‰ Er, that later might mean tomorrow, so you’ll have to cool your heels.
      PS Broke the rules question mark? Snort πŸ˜€

      • Hannah Gosselin

        22/01/2013 at 5:44 pm

        Lol. yes and Phew…I was just racing my doggies to make some changes before you arrived at the ranch!! I was too hasty! πŸ™‚ Have a great dinner…I think my rabbit roast is burnin’!!

  3. barbara_y

    23/01/2013 at 12:05 pm

    Having some trouble getting at the poetry

  4. purplepeninportland

    23/01/2013 at 7:04 pm

    This was a tough prompt, but I persevered.
    Mine is at:

    • margo roby

      24/01/2013 at 7:41 am

      I’m glad you stayed the course, Sara!


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