Monday, October 19, 2009

Free Writing Ideas

Write about five different things, one for each sense - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - that you have experienced in the previous 24 hours.

We don’t have to search far for material to write about – it’s constantly around us, we just have to notice it, and remember to make a record of it.

Paint the picture/moment/event in words - really see (re-experience) all the details.

Give yourself 10 to 20 mins for each one. Start writing and make yourself continue until your chosen time is up.

You could do one a day for the next five days. Don't worry about reading back over them. Let them sit in your notebook for a while.

And for a little inspiration, here are some delicious excerpts from Charles Simic's notebook:

Seeing is determined not by the eye but by the clarity of my consciousness. Most of the time the eyes see nothing.

My soul is constituted of thousands of images I cannot erase. Everything I remember vividly from a fly on a wall in Belgrade to some street in San Francisco early one morning. I'm a grainy old, often silent, often flickering film.

Two young birch trees wrestling in the wind. The crow in the snow refereeing.

The day I went to make funeral arrangements for my father-in-law, I caught a glimpse of the mortician's wife nursing the mortician's new daughter. Her breasts were swollen huge with milk.

The restaurant is Greek. The waiter's name is Socrates, so Plato must be in the kitchen, and Aristotle is the fellow studying a racing form at the cash register. Today's special, grilled calamari with fresh parsley, garlic, and olive oil.

From The Poet's Notebook, Excerpts From The Notebooks Of 26 American Poets, WW Norton New York 1995.

Write well.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Happy October

Autumn slips in very slowly, and rather late in the year, in the South of France. The two plane trees in the garden are still sprouting and green, although the small oak has decided that it's time to turn. People are still swimming during the day, but the nights are cooler and we tend to move indoors by around 8.30 rather than our usual 11.

I suppose when we think of autumn we tend to think of change: shorter days, trees becoming bare, fires lit for the first time in months. It's a season of things slowing down.

When I lived in the UK I used to look forward to putting on a thick sweater. There's something quite lovely about being encased in thick wool or cotton when it's cold and blustery outside.

The following poem is from a sequence commissioned by Medway Maritime Hospital to accompany a series of artworks you can still see in the Fracture Clinic Waiting Room - 'The Four Seasons' by Tony Crosse.


This is the gathering –
fields grubbed bare
leaf, flower, seed
settled to mulch.
Winds rattle
the garden’s ghosts.

We light bonfires
to tempt the sun
but the day’s too full
of doubt. At night
the fox’s scream –
the first cold snap.

The four panels are abstract representations of the seasons and are made entirely from materials used in the Clinic:

Here are some ideas for a poem:

1. Write a haiku with an autumn 'kigo' (season word). There's a two part seminar on writing haiku here.

2. Write about slowness. Research the word first for associated ideas.

3. Find an artwork that you really like and write in response to it. Here's a post that appeared earlier in this blog.

I'm in the UK between 7th and 17th October (and I'm really looking forward to catching up with a few of you) so I'll comment on any poems posted when I get back.

Write well.
Lynne x