Concentric

day one

10670248_10204978052071495_5239567979223634512_n

 

mural

circles 3

Because I recently facilitated the painting of a mural on the side of my garage, I have circles on my mind. For this mural, based on a Kandinsky painting, over 20 members of my cohousing community (plus a few neighbors) pitched in to paint a circle or two. Aged 3 to 60, the painters added their unique perspectives to the mural.

 

Today’s Prompt

Inspired by any of the circles depicted above, write about

  • Orbits. Real or symbolic.
  • Targets. Metaphorical and not metaphorical.
  • Things that Spin.
  • Enclosing and Being Enclosed.

Directions

  1. Write for 10 minutes without letting your pen off the paper. Write whatever comes to mind.
  2. When you finish, circle a favorite or a disturbing word or phrase and write it on the top of a new piece of paper.
  3. Write for 15 minutes more.

Stumped? Try including a conversation between two strangers, a man spinning on the ice, a woman spinning a top, or a child rolling down hill.

Advertisements

Children, War, and Memory

sirIn her book Sir, HR Hegnauer writes with quiet, stirring, and at times hilarious power about her grandfather (Sir) and her grandmother (Mrs. Alice). Her rich glimpses of the past reveal how her grandparents formed and informed her childhood and young adulthood.

Sir is about human connection and disconnection, about bodies and gender, and, largely, about memory—its ability and its fallibility.

On page nine, Hegnauer writes about war:

I learned about war for the first time in the first grade. We had just started fighting in the Persian Gulf. Mrs. Thom said that we wouldn’t hear any bombs, but that they were real, and they were dangerous — more dangerous than anything we’d ever hope to know. I remember her telling me that we had never lost a war before, and that this was something to be proud of. When I walked home from school that day, Matt told me that not only had we never lost, but that we had never actually been to war until now. I told Sir that we had never been to war before, and now we’re in the Gulf, but don’t be afraid because we won’t actually hear any bombs. I told him like I was an expert on the politics of war. He said, then what the hell was I doing in 1944? I said, I don’t know. Maybe it was only a battle and not actually a war. Sir looked at me. I remember this look for sure like he’s looking at me right now.

Writing Prompt: Write about your earliest memory or understanding of war.

Considerations and Suggestions
As Hegnauer does above, include conversation or dialogue between yourself and another child and/or yourself and another adult.

• Include concrete details, accurate or not.
• Infuse doubt.
• As always, experiment with form and point-of-view.
• Write for 20 minutes.

For more about Sir and HR Hegnauer’s writing, click here and here .

Sir
HR Hegnauer
Portable Press @ YoYo Labs
2013, 96 pp., 6″ x 9″
Poetry
$16.00 Paper, 978-0-615-23100-6
Cover illustration by Brenda Iijima

Fallow

Thursday, October 2

According to Jewish law and tradition, this year, 5775, is a Shmita or Sabbatical year, when Jewish farmers are supposed to let the land rest. The idea of fallow fields got me thinking about what grows when you don’t actively plant seeds, either physically or metaphorically.

Prompt #1  Write about toiling, perseverance, stepping back, being receptive. Write for 15 minutes.

Prompt #2 Follow these steps to see what emerges.

  1. Write for 10 minutes inspired by the word “fallow.”
  2. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “follow.” Encourage connections with the “fallow” writing.
  3. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “fellow.” Again, look for connections, either thematically or aurally, with your “fallow” and “follow” writing.
  4. Look at all three samples. Circle phrases and words that stand out for you. Choose one word or phrase from each sample and write them on top of a new page. Write for 10 more minutes.

 

The Face of Frustration

Thursday, September 18

IMG_2810

Art Work by David Adamo

Hey Everyone — I’m back from my summer hiatus with more prompts, recommendations and explorations of the craft of writing. Today’s prompt:

Write about frustration.

Suggestions and inspirations:

1. Writing in prose, write a series of dialogue-free actions that depicts growing frustration. Write for 15 minutes

2. Writing poetry, create pacing, word choice and sentence length that convey the energy of frustration. Write for 15 minutes.

3. Write a list poem on the theme of frustration. Write for 10 minutes.

4. Depict frustration that grows, ebbs, explodes, then…?

 

More about David Adamo’s work here.

Childhood Toys

Saturday, August 16

IMG_1240

Write a about a childhood toy or game.

Writing suggestions and inspirations:

1. Describe the game. What did it look like? How did it work? Did you play it with others or by yourself?

2. Do you associate any particular sounds or smells with this game? Was it a new or old game?

3. Was it a shared game? Did you own it or did it belong to a sibling, friend, or cousin?

4. Was there a time that your played with it regularly or did it disappear then reappear?

5. Describe a typical conversation between two people playing this game.

6. Did any frustrating moments arise from this game? Any tears? Any triumphs?

Sign Up

For Wednesday, August 13

  DSCN0249 DSCN3684 IMG_0899    IMG_0441IMG_2651DSCN1380

Write a poem or prose piece inspired by a sign.

Over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for unusual, playful, or cautionary signs. Then, incorporate one of them into a written work.

Suggestions:

1. Write from the point-of-view of someone who passes the sign frequently. What goes through their head?

2. Write a short essay (first person) about your reaction to the sign. What stands out for you? Why?

3. If the sign is a warning, write from the point of view of someone who ignores its message. What happens next?

4. Try writing a poem that includes all the words in the sign, but reworks, remixes, or re-purposes them.

Purple. Violet. Lilac. Lavender.

For Tuesday, August 12

IMG_2612  

Walking around Beach Haven, New Jersey last Wednesday, I came upon this fabulous house.  Over the next week, walk around your own neighborhood (or a new one) and find a house, townhouse, or apartment building that captivates you. Stand or park in front of it for 5 to 10 minutes, writing down notes on what you see, hear, and feel.

Later, expand your writing by responding to one of these questions (or one of your own.) Let your imagination run wild on this one.

  • Imagine a quarrel between two people who live there.
  • Imagine a perfect day at home for one of its residents.
  • Imagine how the house looked the day that the current owners moved in. What were they thinking, worrying about, anticipating?