It wracks my brain
Disturbs my composition
It stirs the coolèd cinders
Of my never-fisted fingers
Corrupt, my brain for violence
Yearns, when people cannot listen.
I love my Gov/Econ class so much that I wrote a little acrostic just for them.
So mom and I were on the highway heading through Arizona towards New Mexico and a storm hit more or less out of nowhere, as storms there are wont to do. I was staring out the window admiring the fog in the brush when inspiration struck and I pulled out my notebook and scrawled this down. It’s a good thing that at that time, I wasn’t the one driving.
I’m rather good at dying,
I practice all the time;
I clutched my knife
and pierced my throat
when you said you’d be mine.
You turn off your inner critic. You do not listen to your inner police force. You ignore the little voices that tell you that it’s all stupid, and you keep going.
Your grade isn’t suffering because your writing is bad, it’s suffering because you aren’t finishing things and handing them in.
So, finish them and hand them in. Even if a story’s lousy, you’ll learn something from it that will be useful as a writer, even if it’s just “don’t do that again”.
You’re always going to be dissatisfied with what you write. That’s part of being human. In our heads, stories are perfect, flawless, glittering, magical. Then we start to put them down on paper, one unsatisfactory word at a time. And our inner critics tell us that it’s a rotten idea and we should abandon it.
If you’re going to write, ignore your inner critic, while you’re writing. Do whatever you can to finish. Know that anything can be fixed later.
Remember: you don’t have to brilliant when you start out. You just have to write. Every story you finish puts you closer to being a writer, and makes you a better writer.
Blaming “Writer’s Block” is wonderful. It removes any responsibility from the person with the “block”. It gives you something to blame, and it sounds fancy.
But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.
Day 1- Write a poem where each line starts with a letter from your first name (an acrostic). It can be about anything, but it should not be about you or your name.
Day 2- Who was the last person you texted? Write a five line poem to that person.
Day 3- Find the nearest book (of any kind). Turn to page 8. Use the first ten full words on the page in a poem. You may use them in any order, anywhere in the poem.
Day 4- Write a haiku. They’re often about nature, but yours can be about anything.
Day 5- Write a three line poem about lemons without using the following words: lemon, yellow, round, fruit, citrus, tart, juicy, peel, and sour.
Day 6- Write a poem of any length incorporating every word from your latest Facebook status.
Day 7- Take a walk until you find a tree you identify with, then write a poem using the tree as a metaphor for yourself or your life.
Day 8- Write a cinquain on a topic of your choice.
Day 9- Quickly jot down four verbs, four adjectives, and four nouns. Write a poem using all 12 words.
Day 10- Pick a one line song lyric to serve as an epigraph to your poem. Then, write the poem to accompany it.
Day 11- Write a list poem.
Day 12- Tell your life story in 6 words.
Day 13- Write a short poem that a child would like.
Day 14- Write a bad poem, make it as lousy as you can, do everything wrong, let yourself be awful.
Day 15- Post a poem (written by someone else) that you love (for any reason).
Day 16- Respond to the poem you posted yesterday with a poem of your own.
Day 17- Write a poem that employs a rhyme scheme.
Day 18- Write a poem without any end rhyme, only internal rhyme.
Day 19- Imagine yourself doing any household task/chore, then write a poem using what you’ve imagined as an extended metaphor for writing.
Day 20- Write a narrative poem detailing a specific childhood memory.
Day 21- Choose one of the poems you’ve already written and posted as part of this challenge and re-order it in some way. You could rearrange the lines or stanzas or even words in a line. Think of it as a puzzle!
Day 22- What is the first car you bought/drove/remember? Write a poem about it.
Day 23- Write a seven line poem that begins with “it’s true that fresh air is good for the body” (from Frank O’Hara’s poem “Ave Maria”) and ends with “this is our body” (from Gary Snyder’s “The Bath”).
Day 24- Write a poem that’s different in some way from anything you’ve ever written. Take a chance! Be wild!
Day 25- Write a poem that includes all of the following words: pistachio, ink, pebble, weather, varnish.
Day 26- Gather some magazines/catalogs you don’t mind cutting up and spend ten minutes flipping through them looking for words/sentences that spark your interest. Cut out the words as you go, and (at the end of the ten minutes) arrange the words to form a cut-out poem.
Day 27- Begin with the title “The Poem I’d Never Write.” Then, write that poem.
Day 28- Visit a virtual art gallery and look around until you find a piece that intrigues you. Write a poem inspired by the artwork.
Day 29- Briefly research a poetic form of your choice and write a poem according to the rules of that particular form.
Day 30- Write a poem employing extended metaphor to illustrate the experience of the last thirty days.
I want to write at least something every day. It doesn’t really matter whether that something is a new poem or story or fanfiction, or something I’ve already started that I want to edit. But every day I will do something, because so long as I keep going I’ll eventually make progress.
I hate that we have to check one of two boxes
My corpus is gonna break ‘long my callosum
if I don’t stop running in mental circles ‘bout
why nothing’s so simple
and wishing that all of the answers to what it means to be me
would slip into my pocket along with my car keys—
if nature and nurture go hand in hand— yes, not or, and—
if the left and right hemispheres each other demand
if “black or white” miss all the shades of grey
and my favourite cuisine type changes day to day
then why does the binary enslave you and me
and everyone else in this Roy G. Biv sea?
sure, sometimes it is black or white or swiss cheese
and everything’s fine with that
but, if you please,
stop boxing us all up in constructed notions
based on our names, shapes, clothes, hairdos, and motions,
our bodies, our genitals—
look, only we own them
in the end, it’s that simple
only I can decide
what to do with my body,
what’s completely mine
and no two are alike
so why should it be that everyone sees
all humanity as either y or z
when sometimes it’s either or
other times neither nor
an infinite alphabet’s possibilities?
We live in one ginormous Roy G. Biv world
if only you’d open your eyes and your minds
the endless types of hues this rainbow can hold
only the spectrum leads to the pot of gold
in which you only have to check a box if you want to
and I can be me and you can be you
and humanity and equality are one, and not two.