Before today’s exercise, I want to reflect briefly on what I learned about my voice and style after completing last week’s task.
1- I’m drawn to clever, creative, and poetic use of language. That’s why Ray Bradbury is my favorite author. (Here are a couple of gorgeous lines from Something Wicked This Way Comes: “Sunlight minted a last few oak leaves all gold. But the sun vanished, the coins were spent, the air blew gray.” ) One of my goals as a writer is to continue to develop the use of rhetorical devices. I like to have fun with words, and I want that to be evident in my writing.
2- My writer’s voice is sometimes dark and somber and sometimes light and playful. It’s like a coin with two totally different sides.
3- I like well-crafted stories full of meaning and significance and having a happy or hopeful ending. The genres that appeal to me the most are magical realism, dark fantasy, whimsical fantasy, and imagist poetry. These preferences influence my voice and style.
That said, here’s today’s exercise.
Stretching the Imagination (a “what if” exercise):
Look at a picture of a sculpture or painting of an animal, monster, or mythical creature (or better yet, go look at it in person), and imagine that it comes to life. Compose a story scene or a narrative poem describing what would happen.
The Nature of the Beast
(or What One Writer Witnessed from the Second Floor of the Hyatt Regency)
On the last day of the writers’ convention in Denver,
hundreds of master wordsmiths, student hopefuls, and
just plain hope-fulls are crossing 14th and California
in a rush to get back to their homes and computers and
start crafting glorious new poems and tales.
Elated and inspired, they push on,
cell-phones pressed against ears or fired-up hearts,
mindless of traffic, the blinking red hand, and the little white man.
Suddenly, the big blue bear that for three days had been
peering at them through the green glass building
turns and attacks them.
Stomping down the sidewalk,
like an elephant with an agenda,
she squashes the literary pedestrians,
one by one, crunch, crunch, oh, oh,
and then proceeds to eat them,
gulping them down into her hollow belly.
Everyone is too stunned to hide,
including the little person on the orange scooter,
the X-large lady in the yellow sweater,
and Michael C. and his Pulitzer hair,
who mouths, “I see what you mean.”
Now the rest of the writers,
unable to resist the allure of the monster,
the hallucinatory nature of the experience,
and the sacredness of it all,
pour out of the safe, glass building
into the clutches of the giant bear.
Squash, crunch, gulp, oh.
The warm sweet & sour smell of fear and blood and open bodies
seeps through the cool April air.
On and on it goes,
with much screaming and wailing,
with much blood and gore,
until hundreds upon hundreds
(including a few musicians who hadn’t been sure
what they were doing there in the first place)
lay either splattered on the gray and (now) red concrete
or crumpled and compressed inside the big blue beast,
until all writers lay dead, all dead,
except, of course, the one
whose hyper-charged imagination
ignited the tremendous slaughter.
Finally all voices are silenced;
the big blue beast is appeased,
and from the triple mural by Bubba Gump,
Teddy Roosevelt – that good old lover of bears –
laughs and laughs with glee.