Many writing groups and workshops do writing exercises. We start with a prompt, like a random word drawn from a collection. Or maybe one xeroxed page from a rhyming dictionary. Then we are asked to spend ten minutes writing based on this prompt.
These exercises can be intimidating: especially when in a group of strangers I definitely feel the pressure to perform. But the purpose of these exercises is to stimulate creativity, and for me also to realize that I don’t have to go looking for “the big idea” to start the next poem. Some of the works that I enjoy the most come from these exercises. They might not rise to the level of finished pieces, and are sometimes a little silly, but hey, so are a whole lot of music lyrics, and we enjoy them!
Here is a quick piece I wrote in one of our Downey groups based on the prompt “Write concretely about something absurd.”
After the death of the humans
My dog kept up my blog.
I guess I had not logged off
and typing with one nail
on each paw proved to be
a bit of a challenge,
but clearly it wasn’t that hard,
because thousands of dogs kept up
their communications on Facebook and Twitter.
The cats began to participate too,
although they were more lurkers and stalkers
than active participants.
Keeping hte computers running
did not seem to be much of a problem,
although the dogs had a little trouble
getting into Best Buy
because the automatic doors wouldn’t open
since the electric eye was set so high.
The biggest breakthroughs took a little while.
The pawgometric mouse was first,
and then, finally, the development
of bark recognition software.