Posts Tagged ‘Imagination’

Once again the third Sunday of the month and time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “Third Sunday Write” (see November 18, et al.).  These are sessions where a bunch of us will be given prompts, assignments, whatever for timed (short) writing sessions, sometimes resulting in usable ideas for subsequent stories or poems, otherwise possibly only for fun.  But one never knows, my most recent story for instance came out of just a portion of a long past exercise, combined with some quite unrelated ideas — or at least until they became parts of the story.  But mostly . . . well . . . this time one cue was to make a list of things done every day — in my case I picked things I did every morning.  Then we were to pick just one item, but draw it out into a set of instructions (so others, presumably, could do it too?)

So we ran out of time fast (in fact, I had to complete my last half-sentence in “overtime”), but here’s my contribution:

“FEEDING THE CAT

“1.  It is important, first, to avoid stepping on the cat — the cat’s breakfast should be a full and enjoyable experience for all involved.

“2.  So, deftly avoiding the cat’s extremities, reach down and pick up her water dish.  CAREFUL, DON’T SPILL IT!

“3.  The Water Dish:  Empty it first into the sink, then run water in it to wash it out — use fingers, if needed, to capture soggy bits of food the cat may have dropped in it.

“4.  Then fill it with fresh water just over half full, and bend down again carefully placing it gently on the newspaper that serves as the cat’s place mat, being careful, again, not to let it spill when the curious and/or hunger-crazed cat tries to head-butt it out of your hand. . . . ”

(Perhaps next month we’ll learn that the other bowl is used for dry food, along with the extra challenges that may bring.)

Usually I don’t report on the Bloomington Writers Guild “Third Sunday Write” (though sometimes I do, cf. April 15, et al.); they either end up in ideas that translate into stories, in which case it might come up if/when one sells, or otherwise it’s just an exercise, good for me in crafting first-draft poetry or maybe an essay, but more a personal thing than anything worth sharing.  These are sessions in which a facilitator offers prompts or other bits of inspiration for the rest of us to craft into . . . well, something.  At worst still putting words on paper (last month’s, for instance, on ekphrastic writing based on Renoir’s painting “Luncheon of the Boating Party” produced scenes — from at least four of us, each more hilarious than the last — focusing in on a little lap dog fawned on by its mistress at the foreground table.  But you had to be there).

But occasionally it might spawn an essay that, if not usable in itself, might at least still be fun to share.  And so, yesterday afternoon, after some warmup exercises with lists, came this (based on the item “Cat Treats” on one for grocery shopping):

“Well, first there was Wednesday — the first that I think of — whose favorite plaything was her spider collection.  Black plastic spiders with rings attached for wearing on Halloween, but between that and eight legs lots of things for claws to catch, tossing the toy up into the air, it then falling crazily, bouncing who knows where, to pounce on again.

“There were the crickets, too, but these were live ones that came up from the basement, but the problem was they didn’t last long, generally going limp after the first or second toss.  So plastic was far superior for her.

“Wednesday has passed on by now though, possibly to a home in the sky where the crickets last longer, or even the spiders which would themselves lose legs eventually under the pressure of fangs and claws.

“The new cat, Triana, however is more of a practical cat.  She enjoys the crickets, but her trick is that when they’re no longer good for play she eats them.  Thus she will exercise, building an appetite, but then instantly sate it.”

So the lesson may be that timed, instantaneous writing exercises are conducive to run-on sentences (the above is presented without being edited).  Or, for what it’s worth, two others at this session also presented essays at least in part concerning cats.

The third Sunday this April is Easter Sunday so the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write” (see March 17, et al.) had to be scheduled a week early this time.  And while the warm-up exercises could be a bit prosey — a list of things known and that one might like to know, answers to the question “What feeds you?” (which could be poetic), and a descriptive rendering of a favorite place, the final event took on a more poetic flavor.  Poems from three poetry books were read with instructions to note down lines or phrases that seemed to particularly stand out; then write your work incorporating some of these phrases.  Mine, a poem called “Magma,” discussed energy in its various forms, potential, kinetic, but also mental — in imagination — and will it matter?  The ending, another “borrowed” line:  “The gods are never caught.”

Not much will come of this one for me, probably, in terms of work that could lead to a story, but it was fun.  And the end, fun too, was to comment not so much on others’ readings of what they composed, but to also pick out lines and phrases that stood out — an exercise in imagination but also an appreciation of things that can spark it.




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