Writing Toward Home

Writing , Ideas, and Encouragement

Month: September 2016

Wordplay Wednesday: Poetic Prompts

Poetic Prompts

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So far in Wordplay Wednesday posts we have used word lists, book titles and song titles as sources for writing ideas. Today I am going to suggest one of my favorite places to find prompts: poetry.

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Poets possess a gift for succinctly expressing common emotions, ideas and experiences in a way that makes us nod our heads in recognition. I am no poet, but I have great admiration for what they do. Often I have the experience of reading a poem and wondering how the poet could to aptly express what I think or feel with such precision and beauty, I have found many writing ideas in poems; sometimes from a single line  or more often from reading an entire work as an image or memory gradually emerges.

At other times I struggle to understand the meaning behind the words, but the act of wrestling with the confusion is also of great value for bringing ideas to the surface. Not knowing can be an illuminating path for a writer to navigate and see what discoveries can be made.

Today I invite you to explore poetry as a way of prompting your creativity, Taste in poetry varies widely, but with an attitude  of openness I believe most people can find poems they can enjoy and relate to. The public library and the internet are both great resources for discovering poets and their works.

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Here are some of the poetry collections I own and dip into for inspiration:

Good Poems selected by Garrison  Keillor

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

Finding My Elegy By Ursula K. LeGuin

Below are lines gleaned from the volumes mentioned above that can be used as prompts for your creativity:

I sometimes fear that the younger generation will be deprived of the experience of….

Everything changes, we’re told, and now the changes are everywhere…

It is in the small things we see it…

And another regrettable thing…

There are many that I miss…

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant…

Nothing is simple anymore…

You’d think we had enough of…

The dead are always looking down on us, they say…

As if, one by one the memories you used to harbor decided to retire…

This is the force of friendship…

Your grief for what you lost lifts a mirror…

There is a deliverance that comes…

The way of love is not a subtle argument…

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Did any of these stir an inkling, an idea, a memory?

Do you have any favorite poems or poets to suggest?

I would love to hear about them.

Wordplay Wednesday: Stories in the Music

Wordplay Wednesday: Stories in the Music

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As my husband and I returned from a beach trip over the weekend we had our satellite radio turned to an oldies station. Confession: on long car trips we like to sing along to hits from the 60’s. Neither of us has much of a singing voice, but we enjoy singing and laughing and remembering the songs of that era. We each  have associations and memories connected to certain songs and we often discuss those along the way. That got me to thinking about using song titles as writing prompts.

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Music is a powerful medium. It can stimulate memories, help us make connections between ideas and prompt strong visual images.

Below I have included a list of song titles along with the original artist and the year  each came out.  I am sure that you could think up others of your favorites as well.

Here are two suggestions for using the song titles as prompts:

1.     Choose a familiar title on the list or one of your own and write down memories you associate with that song. Let a song take you down memory lane.

2.     Choose a song title that you do not recognize and simply create a story, poem, essay, or art piece based on what the words bring to mind. Let a song  title inspire you.

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The list below is in no particular order. They are simply titles I thought would be fun to play  around with.

River Deep, Mountain High   Ike and Tina Turner 1966

Moonlight Drive  The Doors 1967

Foreclosure of a Dream  Megadeth 1992

There is a Light That Never Goes out  The Smiths 1992

You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Rolling Stones 1969

Wish You Were Here  Pink Floyd 1975

In the Wee Small Hours of The Morning  Frank Sinatra 1955

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face  Roberta Flack 1969

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For  U2 1987

What a Wonderful World   Louis Armstrong 1968

She Talks to Rainbows  The Ramones 1995

I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself   Dusty Springfield 1964

Imagine   John Lennon 1971

God Only Knows   The Beach Boys 1966

Let it Be  The Beatles 1970

Can you add to the list?  Did an idea reveal itself? I would love to hear what you come up with.

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