Monday, July 18, 2011

Baggott & Asher Writerly Boot Camp. Day 15.

[If you find yourself here, baffled, lost, disoriented,
here's the link to the post that might clarify
what you've just stumbled upon --
complete with pic of Louis Gossett Jr.
and Richard Gere.]

9A small note: If you want to share your bits, head on over to the Facebook.
I'm there at this link.)

Exercises 1-4 will be used in exercise 6.

1. Memory Exercise. This is designed to guide you (goad you) into mucking around where the important, psychologically resonant stuff is stored.

Today, jot a memory associated with a broken tooth, broken bone, and stitches.

2. Eavesdropping Exercise. This exercise is ALWAYS the same, every day. Give me 3 things you've overheard. Start a good writerly habit.

We eavesdrop now without leaving the house. Tell me a story in which social networking plays a key role. It's part of our lives but has been slow to function in our art.

3. Reading as a writer. I'll be mixing this up from day to day, with some repeats.

This week, try to figure out how much of what you're reading is prose that's been honed to art and what's been slapped up. Be aware of it. Draw some lines in the sand. Read more prose honed to art.
4. Image Exercise. This one is also the same every day -- more or less -- and hopefully habit-forming. Jot 3 images. Look at something closely. Notice something. Pay attention.

Today, you're on your own. One rule: make sure it's something you can touch with your own fingers -- not an image from a network, a screen...

5. The Quote. Everyday I will provide a quote and either a little rant on it or an exercise paired with it.

“Any story told twice is fiction.” Grace Paley

What are the stories you tell? Seriously. What are the ones that you would tell on a first date, at a cocktail party, to a colleague? What are the stories you only hand over when you really trust someone? How do you prove that intimacy with a story you hold close to your chest? What makes these stories good? Why do you guard them? Which ones can you truly use? According to Paley, tell 'em twice and they're fiction.

6. Quilting Exercise. This will always be the same but the parts will change daily.

Pick and choose from the things you've jotted so far -- those disparate elements -- and use them to create something. But don't force it too hard. Have some faith in the resonance of these things in and of themselves. These elements have all been dredged to the surface. They're bobbing in your brain. Start writing something even if you don't know what it is. Let these things bounce in and out. Work. Row.

Remember: If this works for you in some way -- this daily jump start --
and the writing that comes of it startles you in a good way --
then you might want to sign up for THE WRITING REGIMENS at THE SOUTHEAST REVIEW. It's super cheap and very smart and jammed with great resources and pep talks and exercises. Brilliant stuff and a great way to support a literary magazine at the same time.
(They also have contests and post winning works by regimen participants
so a good way to get published.)
If you want to know when the next one is, email