Day 1 Prompts

Write in any genre, a new genre, all genres, or no genre whatsoever! Try to keep your piece under 500 words. Less is more. Try to post at least one piece today, or before tomorrow’s course goes live at 12:00 noon. Have fun! These prompts are only for those who need them! They are NOT AN ASSIGNMENT! Use any of the course materials, whatever speaks to you to get your pen or fingers moving.

  1. Make a list of a few personal disasters (or if not personal, then Titanic, or Dodo extinction, etc.). Then make a list of diseases and disorders. Then make a third list of locations outside of the USA. Draw lines between all three lists, one from each. Pick your favorite(s). Write a piece incorporating something from each list.
  2. Select a painting from one of the female Abstract Expressionists: Write an ekphrastic piece. If you have difficulty getting started, you can begin by describing the painting itself, then drop into wherever this eventually takes you.
  3. Listen to more “gibberish” music/lyrics: any Cocteau Twins, any Sigor Ros, Bjork, or R.E.M.’s “Murmur.” Write a piece while listening to the music, and see what magic happens!
  4. Return to your list of self-probing questions, at the bottom of the ‘Stop Making Sense’ page itself. Lived through a disaster? Unkindness or bullying? Have a friend or acquaintance die? Did a neighbor end up in jail? You can make up your own here. Just use these as gathering material to create a piece already rife with tension!
  5. Michelle Ross’s piece uses a Girl Scout Handbook as a prompt. I used to attend a weekly poetry reading at Common Grounds in Los Angeles in the late 80s, and the host always read a selection from Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette. In our 15th issue of Bending Genres, Rachel Laverdiere has a piece called “Yo- Yo Personality: Who’s in the Driver Seat Today?” Jot down some other random associations (shampoo bottle directions, wheelbarrow assembly step-by-steps, new check-in protocol for COVID travel, etc.)

Thanks for a great day. I hope you have had fun. We’ll look at more expansive, dynamic, unusual experiences tomorrow. Rest up. See you on the flip side.