To continue the thread of Amy’s post re: writing prompts from our writing group, here are some flotsam & some jetsam.
As an imagist poet, the series of concrete image writing prompts we utilized throughout the summer were not only handy, but miraculous:
5 concrete images on the topic “Friday Night” (I did more than five, but five is minimalist — very pomo):
sweat staining yellow through tank tops, glowing blue in the black light;
crowds of backwards baseball caps bob like buoys, circling like sharks;
mug cradled hot in the crotch of sweatpants;
a jar tagged “college fund” gleams with silver discs — the woman with the gold tooth taps the glass with her ring;
red plastic cups litter the lawn;
a shiftless, sun-reddened boy tumbles into a bush;
the skinny girl with bangs strips to the thumps of electropop — the skinny boy with bangs fiddles with his Macbook;
the living room smells of unwashed clothes, rubbing alcohol, cheap tobacco & cat piss
One of my favorites from the summer was “breaking up with yourself.” This prompt was very free-form. Several folks wrote letters to themselves or had meta-conversations. I just made a list:
You should really wash your hair more often.
Listen, it’s not you. It’s “America’s Got Talent.”
The way you talk about those girls at Greenlife [my job]… I don’t know, I just feel like you’re not attracted to me.
Whiskey doesn’t count as a hobby.
What do you mean you made kale again?!
I just can’t take one more lecture on intersectional oppressions and speciesism. I don’t care how much you claim it’s for my own good.
(With regards to the latter, I found it cathartic to write in an overtly self-deprecating style. Call me Catholic, but I love talking shit about myself. I feel that this tendency is also a writerly trait.)
We also reappropriated some brilliant McSweeney’s prompts for some of our famed Redaction haikus. Thanks McSweeney’s:
like tapeworms, eat from the deepest
pits of the body
pin headed needling
begins roiling in the guts,
rushes up & out
like spikes pushing bile
in the spider’s hairy core,
hot rut, corpse torn red
The haiku theme will reemerge; don’t fret. Reply with some of your own! Write a haiku!