7:25 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to Neil Diamond singing River Deep, Mountain High
Hello, all! This should be interesting. While I haven’t quite left yet, my brain clearly has. When I write down ideas for Wordgathering, I jot notes with them. I have a notebook just for that. So, when I went looking for my notes on a profile poem (I mean I thought it fun enough for a summer prompt, thus expected something!), I expected elucidation… not a jot, anywhere. I remember that one of the prompt sites suggested a profile poem last week and I was amused and made a mental note to link to it (yeh, that I remember). However, I find no mention in my Friday Freeforall. Oh my God, I’m hallucinating stuff.
I cannot raise a single brain cell that knows what I meant by a profile poem. This is all to say that we are winging it folks — not something I like doing, but, hey! On looking the word up, something I always do because cool things can happen, I find that profile derives from Late Latin filare “to spin, draw out a line,” from filum “thread”. The meaning “a side view” is from the 1660s; the meaning “biographical sketch, character study” is from the 1730s.
Consider: to spin a thread, a side view, a character study. I am going to give you some possible directions to run with this. Above all, this does not have to be you.
1] Pick a well-known person: a writer, an artist, a celebrity [as in acting, singing, dancing], a politician, a scientist… Ponder your choice while jotting notes on what you know. The jotting is important as it lets the brain delve. Write us a side view, something people don’t know, but you imagine, given what you do know. You can take a single incident regarding your choice and use it to draw a profile.
2] Pick someone in your every day life, a checkout person, the mailman, gas station attendant… you know the sort of thing I mean. Given the appearance of the person, which you will think on for a while, give us a biography. Each stanza should be an era: As a child… When she was eighteen… In his early twenties… That’s right, total fiction, but your brain will draw on things that make sense to it. One thing: have a thread that continues through each phase.
3] Compose a WANTED poem. A couple of ways to go with this. If you [yes, now it’s you] were wanted by, say the CIA or MI-5, what would the description include? Do some research on this one. You want to catch the right tone. Or, you can write a poem about someone being looked for. Wanted: a baker of banana cream pies. Have fun with this. You may have fun with the others too, but this one encourages play!
4] Come up with your own idea for a profile poem.
Think about form. A haiku might be just right for what you want to do, or you might want to sprawl all over the page. Form equals content.
Right, that should do to be going on with. I wonder whether I will ever remember my original thought. I shall see you Thursday for the Freeforall, as we shall be on the road and heading South, Friday; and next Tuesday for another prompt on the calendar. We’re going tasting!
Happy writing, everyone.