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.


			

September 11, 2010

“There is what is drunk in the mornings, and for a long while that was beer. In Cannery Row a character who one could tell was a connoisseur professes that “there’s nothing like that first taste of beer.” But I have often needed, at the moment of waking, Russian vodka. There is what is drunk with meals, and in the afternoons that stretch between them. There is wine some nights, along with spirits, and after that beer is pleasant again — for then beer makes one thirsty. There is what is drunk at the end of the night, at the moment when the day begins anew. It is understood that all this has left me very little time for writing, and that is exactly as it should be: writing should remain a rare thing, since one must have drunk for a long time before finding excellence.”

– Guy Debord

Crack, can’t go back

August 19, 2010

“I remember, in the eighties, when crack first hit the scene, hearing all kinds of horror stories about how if you smoked it even once, the memory of its unbelievable high would live on in your system forever, and you would thus never again be able to be content without it. I have no idea if this is true, but I will admit that it scared me off the drug. In the years since, I have sometimes found myself wondering if the same principle applies in other realms–if seeing a particularly astonishing shade of blue, for example, or letting a particularly potent person inside you, could alter you irrevocably, just to have seen or felt it. In which case, how does one know when, or how, to refuse? How to recover?”

-Maggie Nelson’s Bluets.

Write about an experience that has changed you. It can be a story about yourself or a fiction about a character in an experience that has altered them so that they may never go back. It may be an encounter with a lover or an enemy, a place, etc.  Positive or not.  Attempt to answer questions such as, how does one recognize this change? or Nelson’s “How to recover?”



Use Rubberbands and Rope!

January 12, 2010

Tonight, here’s an exercise from one of my favorite short story writers, Aimee Bender.

Write one page that contains a broken gadget of some sort and a dancer.

I just had a long day at work and then went to a show. Now my head is pounding! My feet hurt! I’m going to hand-write this one, since I’ve been staring at a computer screen all day.

Goodnight!