Quit! Give Up! (JK!)

June 30, 2011

This post is just an excuse to get someone else out there to read poet Eileen Myles’ essay about a Poet’s Strike.  Go on some kind of creative strike. Limit yourself from ways you usually express yourself and see if this “creativity” you’ve stifled shows up in different or surprising places.

Cool it

June 2, 2011

Describe numbness. Describe a lack of feeling without using the words frozen or ice.

I’m posting this because I’m having a hard time in a piece that I’m working on. How do you describe a lack of feeling other than the cliche, “I was numb,” when you are trying to describe a situation of trauma and toughness?

Write five short expressions of the most adamant anger; make a work out of them.

My favorites: I’m at the end of my rope, full of hot air, a bone to pick, having a conniption, seeing red, ticked off (as in, “is there a grandfather clock in here? ‘cus something’s really ticking me off),  or just the simple, fuck this.


May 11, 2011

Bernadette Mayer, Day 4
Choose a subject you would like to write "about." 
Then attempt to write a piece that absolutely 
avoids any relationship to that subject. 
Get someone to grade you.



May 8, 2011

Bernadette Mayer, Day 3

Write a bestiary (a poem about real and mythical animals).

For further inspiration: 

Bernadette Mayer, Day 2

Write on a piece of paper where something is already printed or written.

Psst. More Bernadette Mayer experiments here.

I’ve used Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiments a couple of times on this blog so I was overjoyed to discover that Drunken Boat is seeking submissions for a Bernadette Mayer Folio!  Sooo for the rest of the week I’m going to try to do one of her experiments every day. Here we go:

Write what is secret. Then write what is shared. Experiment with writing each in two different ways: veiled language, direct language.  (My own take on this would be to write in opposites. Write what is secret in direct language and write what is public in veiled language. Hence, the picture of a toothbrush being the exact opposite of what it should be.)

Do today’s experiment, do it well, and then submit it to Drunken Boat! More of Bernadette Mayer’s experiments can be found here.

And for further inspiration, this is one of my favorite passages from her book length poem, “Midwinter’s Day”.

“I’ve a wistful desire to stay outside

It’s not really cold,

And roll with the babies in the snow ’til I get older

Maybe we could be outside all the time like sex and lists

Of music to hear to remember to laugh at whatever’s forgotten

Doesn’t have to be gone out again for

Staying in

And sex is memory’s intensity

The year’s least day

Lost in the house of love’s safe locks,

Movements chance perfidy.


Please Follow Me

April 8, 2011

I’m working on a series of essays about conceptual artist Sophie Calle. I’m responding to some of her real life rituals and trying them out myself. One of her first works was following people around Paris. When she returned home from her travels in 1979 she said, simply, that she was bored and had no friends so she started following people.  It was a way to rediscover the city she’d grown up in, one that she was already so dully familiar with.  It turned into a way to relax, a kind of meditation. “Establishing rules and following them is restful,” is how she puts it. “If you follow someone, you don’t have to wonder where you’re going to eat. They take you to their restaurant. The choice is made for you.” It’s interesting to me that following someone would put the power in their hands, not hers.

Go to a familiar place in your city or town. Follow someone on the street. Try not to pick someone who is interesting or attractive, just follow the person who first crosses your path. Describe them. Write about your experience. Did you feel like you lost control? Write about what they show you about the landscape you thought you knew.

Artifice and More Maps

April 2, 2011


Artifice Magazine has a really cool “wish list” of things they’re looking for in submissions. The items on it serve as great exercises. Two of my favorites, (pretty much because they have to do with my last post/have to do with everything I’ve been thinking about this week) are:

  • A narrative in the form of a maze
  • A maze in the form of a narrative

Write that map. Go get published.

Here to There

March 30, 2011

Write about a place as if you are drawing a map of it with your words. Think about the position of places in terms of everything in your description. Where does that road begin and end? How does the position of your words reflect the content of the landscape? How does what happened in that place reflect the map of it?

The picture I found for this post makes me think about mapping characters. While I’m writing I’m going to think about where these people begin and end, not in terms of time or events, but with place.