The daily prompt was different today. It was a prompt developed by the comic artist Lynda Barry, and it asked us to think about dogs you have known, seen, or heard about, and then use them as a springboard into wherever they take you.
I made Trace do it with me because I think it’s always good to write. Also, this prompt was so specific and timed that even those who don’t love writing (is that even a thing?!) could do it. I’d love to read your dog writings.
Don’t be off put by the time. You can half the time and get just as good a result. In fact, this is what I did with Trace. Here is your chance to experience NaPoWriMo for yourself and to do something more than scrolling on your phone.
Here are the instructions:
Set up a a 5-10-minute timer and briefly list as many dogs as you can think of. These can be childhood pets and just dogs you came across one day and never saw again. List as many dogs as you can, but try to get to at least ten.
Underline the one dog you're not surprised to see in the list—the obvious dog (because the dog was your first pet, or a family favorite, or one you just saw right before you began the exercise).
Circle the dog that surprised you--the one you didn't remember until you began the exercise.
Set up a 10-15-minute timer and write, to begin with, about that dog. Don't stop writing. Tell where you were, what you were doing.
Write about the dog but also around the dog. What else was going on? Let the writing take you where it wants to take you.
I hope you give it a try. Mine is below, and I post it with a Trigger Warning.
A Tragic Tale in Three Parts
I. The Prologue
Sometimes the ones we love the most get hurt the worst by our own foolishness.
Carmen was such a pretty girl. Caramel colored little pup—Vizsla-like(no wonder I loved her) We all loved her, even mom, and she never loved any dog after our perfect Pepper passed. But Carmen wasn’t our dog, she was yours, and I think you loved her most of all.
II. The Story
The night was dark and rainy (Don’t most tragedies begin here?) The street was mostly deserted.
Most would say being downtown Detroit at 2 am in a souped up car on deserted streets is foolishness, pure and simple. Every one knows the underworld comes alive at 2 am.
The gall and puffed up pride it takes to believe you’ll be fine where others weren’t is enough to blind or to get you blinded or to get you blindsided.
You never saw them coming.
How could you not see them coming?
When you saw the car with darkened windows pull up behind you, what did you think?
Hit the gas! Drive away!
Six guys got out and you thought you would be ok. How could you?
III. The Epilogue
In the end, your face was unrecognizable, but Carmen, Poor Carmen— She paid with her life.
Every year I love to lie beneath the stars in the summer. Especially when we are camping or up north at my folks’ cottage, I love to look up in wonder.
One of the highlights of visiting The Badlands was the Night Sky Program they offered. There in this amazing setting, a Park Ranger pointed out all the different stars, planets, and satellites blinking down at us.
We saw Jupiter and Mars and Saturn through high powered telescopes. We bonded with total strangers in the inky blackness, sharing stories of all the magic that happened under stars in our own lives.
I tried to capture a bit of the wonder and magic of falling stars in this poem.
balls of fire, dancing like fireflies suspended on string. oh how they careened down with a nod and a wink.
how many wishes were granted that night? how many starstruck lovers closed their eyes and hoped?
sometimes it is hard to imagine that the death of a single star lingers long into the future, touching all who see it.
lying beneath the fireworks, wishing and hoping for more, praying not to be burned by the smoldering embers.
NaPoWriMo 2016The prompt for today is to write a poem in which I explore what I think is the cruelest month, and why. So here it is…
fall from grace
all due respect to the poet,
september is the cruelest month.
our children and our harvest, whisking away;
silence and dying leaves, singing melancholy in their place.
my sorrow complete by empty playgrounds reminding
of joy, but stark and barren like my arms.
i rode my bike to town, to the library, to the gym, and took myself out to breakfast.
george from the diner singing
the blues about the breakfast club dwindling down
to a few elderly patrons chewing–
a symphony of gums smacking against dentures.
an occasional heatwave bursting through,
dismal grey looming,
a goodweatherahead omen lying through the teeth of pre-winter storms.
ah september you wicked,wicked man!
your seductive sunshine belying
a heart of pure winter ice.
The prompt for today was called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. There were twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem. I used ten because my day was too full to work all twenty into my poem.
the new road
emily says dying is a wild night and a new road.
i say dying is sort of like walking too close to the rails when the chicago el whizzes by: whooosh!
dying tastes like a quiet color
in explosive rainbow proportions.
i hear the clacking coming;
i feel the rush of wind
and touch the steamy air
just before that silver bullet train starts whizzing toward me.
i wonder if the actual moment of death feels like being a rider on the train watching the people stare as i pass by them.
i wonder if death feels like new life.
i wonder if becalmanddie would make a good slogan on a billboard advertising dying.
perhaps emily is right after all;
perhaps the billboard sign should be lit in blinking neon lights
guiding the way home on the new road (which just happens to pass a tad too close to the el train tracks).