How many more days do we have left in us?
(I'm just not sure. Not many. Not many.)
[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.]
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 of your worst teacher, one of a teacher with quirks, and one associated with your best teacher. You've spent years of your life watching these people.
Friends you're no longer friends with. How do friendships form? Why do they fade? Focus on three.
“The unsaid, for me, exerts great power…” Louise Gluck
This is an old exercise -- known in theater. Two characters. Before you start to write the scene, write down that each has something that they can't say, but something that exerts great power as Louise says above. Have it motivate what they say and do -- without it ever being said.
For example, mother and son at a bus depot. Mother's line, "Don't go." Son's line, "I'm never coming back."
3. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.