Saturday
Oct012011

And what do you do?

I had always maintained the vaguely Zen notion that I was only a writer when writing. When asked the dreaded question at social gatherings, "What do you do?" I would always immediately begin dripping with sweat and mask my anxiety by saying whatever the most recent thing I had actually done: "I took a shower today; I'm a showerer, I guess."

— Eliezer Sobel
Note to Authors: Your Book Won't Change Your Life


Wednesday
Sep282011

Build a new dictionary


lex·i·cog·ra·phy

noun
1.  the writing, editing, or compiling of a dictionary.

 

Word lovers, please join me in building a new lexicon. Ink and Famine is redefining the world — and it's great fun. 

"A new world demands a new lexicon," explain the anonymous lexicographers heading the redefinition revolution. "Each round we choose four words to interpret in as many new poetic iterations as we please."

Readers are encouraged to submit their definitions in poems of seven lines or less. Every week (or so), a selection of entries are posted, along with four new words.

The last round of words included carapace and caravan. I didn't know the definition of carapace  so I looked it up in my trusty, albeit traditional, dictionary, and then rewrote what it means to me in the form of a lune (3-5-3 words):

car·a·pace

[kar-uh-peys] 

mildewed shame carried

in my body's every dark

and secret cell.                  


And I reinvented caravan, as a haiku (5-7-5ish syllables):

car·a·van

   [kar-uh-van]

a reckless train rams

anger against intellect

into endlessness        

 

Isn't this fun? Now, it's your turn. Go to Ink and Famine — and redefine the world.


Saturday
Sep242011

Cut, Consider, Create 

Little Did She Know She Would Relapse

On the surface, there is nothing
but style and a suspension of
modesty. I stay sort of ugly.
My lashes are the only things still
looking good. I feel awful that
I feel so awful.

I climb slowly to the top of the hill.
Air thins. Sound expands.
There are more questions than tools
or instruction.

From this vantage, a ribbon of fog
hugs the horizon and it strikes me
I have it all wrong. I shift my thinking:

                     Is confusion also truth?


I like working with that impossibility.

 

- Drew Myron
A Cut-Up Poem with lines from Paris Review, No. 198
and More magazine, October 2011.

 

As I've mentioned before, I love Cut-Up Poems. When my writing feels stale and my thoughts routine, the cutting process invigorates. With a Cut-Up poem, you borrow words and phrases from other sources. With each extraction you create opportunities for words and ideas to jump and explore. With draft and draft, words are rearranged and rewritten so the final poem bears little resemble to your first clipped lines (eliminating the chance of plagiarism).

How to Make a Cut-Up Poem:  Take a work-in-progress poem or journal entry and copy lines onto a clean sheet. Cut apart the lines with scissors. Now mix the lines and arrange in a new order. Throw in additional lines from assorted books or magazines. Play around, shift lines, discard some and add others to make your own poem.

This process sometimes yields good poems. More often it breaks the routine and opens the door for the next good poem. Whether writing prompt or powerful new poem, it always feels good to exercise the writing muscle and produce new work. 

Try This:  Cut-Up my Cut-Up Poem! I'd love to read what you create. Please share your Cut-Up Poem here.


Thursday
Sep222011

Thankful Thursday: Bewildered 

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for a gentle nudge from a 13th century Persian poet.

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to appreciate the people, places, things & ideas that bring joy. What are you thankful for today?


Sunday
Sep182011

What does your sign say? 

 Brave Girls Club

Would I treat you more kindly if I knew your struggle?

I'm pondering this now, after reading a beautifully sad, but hopeful, tale. 

Read it, then come back and tell me: What does your sign say?