Wednesday, October 28, 2009

found: going through old emails. yeah. that's how it rolls.


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to

the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a

stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have

your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman

down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,

the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,

is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the

pond, where whole generations of biological

processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds

speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,

they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old

enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?

There is movement beneath the water, but it

may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the

years you ran around, the years you developed

a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,

owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are

genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have

become. And then life lets you go home to think

about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one

who never had any conditions, the one who waited

you out. This is life's way of letting you know that

you are lucky. (It won't give you smart or brave,

so you'll have to settle for lucky.) Because you

were born at a good time. Because you were able

to listen when people spoke to you. Because you

stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your

late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And

then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,

while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,

with smiles on their starry faces as they head

out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea. - Eleanor Lerman

Writing Exercise: Five Sentences Continued 2

And we're back.

I hope you haven't lost those five sentences because I have. Gotta get a real notebook.

So anyway you have your new sentences:
1. She threw her milk on the floor.
2. 'I'm not going to the park,' she pouted.
3. The house breathes memories of days long past.
4. The stair runner is threadbare in the middle.
5. The deer nipped at the short grass.
6. A soft breeze ruffled through the oaks.

Cross out two words in each line. Go with your first impulse.
Rework the lines so they sound pleasing to you.

Mine look like this:
1. She threw milk on the floor.
2. 'not going to the park.'
3. The house breathes memories.
4. The stair runner is threadbare.
5. Deer nip at the short grass.
6. A soft breeze ruffles the oaks.

Now cross out four entire lines. I chose the last four, but you can choose any four lines you wish. So here's what I have:
1. She threw milk on the floor.
2. 'not going to the park.'

Rewrite these to lines so they sound pleasing to you. Leave a blank line between them.
1. She threw her milk.
3. 'not going to the park. Hmmph.'

Write a new second line that goes with the two existing ones.
1. She threw her milk.
2. Crossed arms over chest and stamped her right foot hard.
3. 'not going to the park. Hmmph.'

Cross out all but five words total.
1. Threw
2. Milk
3. Arms
4. Park
5. Hmmph

Choose one of the five words. Go with your first impulse. I chose:
1. Arms

Write your word at the top of a blank page. This is the title/topic for your next free-writing practice. Write for ten minutes. Go.

I'll post my results in the Comments section. If you'd like to share yours, please post them in Comments.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I'll be going out of town for the next week and won't be updating. When I get back I'll post more writing exercises and finish where I left off with the Five Lines, and have pictures and stories from our latest adventure.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Writing Exercise: Five Sentences Continued

So by now you should have your five sentences. The next thing you're going to do is construct 3 new lines using words from the first five sentences. The words can be in any order and you can add new words if you need to. Leave a blank line after each of your new lines.

This is what it might look like. Here are my first five sentences.
1. Throw everything out.
2. This would be easier if I weren't being interrupted by kids asking for milk or to watch episode six of Star Wars.
3. Sort, sift, stop holding onto the past; it serves no purpose but to weigh you down.
4. The house casts a long shadow over the deer grass.
5. She has a memory of red velvet cake and being felt up in the church basement.

I circled the following words.
throw, this, easier, being, interrupted, kids, milk, sift, stop, holding, past, go, house, casts, long, shadow, deer, grass, she, memory, velvet, cake, felt, basement

Here are my new sentences:
1. She threw her milk on the floor.
3. The house breathes memories of days long past.
5. The deer nipped at the short grass.

Now. On the lines you've left blank, write a new second, fourth and sixth line that goes with the line above it.

Here's what it will look like.
1. She threw her milk on the floor.
2. 'I'm not going to the park,' she pouted.
3. The house breathes memories of days long past.
4. The stair runner is threadbare in the middle.
5. The deer nipped at the short grass.
6. A soft breeze ruffled through the oaks.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Writing Exercise: Five Sentences

This is the start of a new feature at Piefurcation inspired by the 3 amazing women I had dinner with last Tuesday. We met through an online workshop called Mondo Beyondo and found we all have an interest in writing and especially in establishing a regular, writing practice. Back before I had children I used to try to fill up a notebook a month with writing generated from various exercises ala Natalie Goldberg. This practice was central to my work as a playwright - it helped generate new material and allowed me to develop new ways of writing. Since I had my first child, nearly 10 years ago, that practice has dropped off considerably. To a trickle and for the past 3 years there's been a near drought. While I'm at no loss for ideas for plays, I do miss regular writing practice and so am happy to use this blog as a way of bringing it back into my life. This week I'm going to start with a simple exercise from The Writer's Path: A Guidebook for Your Creative Journey. Since the exercise is made up of a series of short steps, I'm going to post a step everyday. I suggest doing this in a notebook and using a fast writing pen instead of on a computer, composing on a computer is different than writing freehand. If you like you can post your daily results in Comments, so we can see how your exercise develops. Sharing your writing is an option, not a requirement, so don't feel like you can't participate if you'd rather not post your work. 'K?

Now go do: write! I'll post my sentences in Comments too.

Five Line Exercise
Quickly write down five lines about whatever pops into your head. Don't edit or cross out. Really. Just write. Your lines don't have to be complete sentences or even grammatically correct. It can even be one word or a sentence fragment. After you're finished, you can post the results in Comments if you like. And hang onto your lines because we'll be using them for the rest of the exercise.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Watch Your Dreams

Last night I dreamed about Dick Cheney. I stowed away on Dick's own personal pontoon cruise ship-type vessel and was captured. Next thing I'm playing Gertrude (as in from Hamlet) to this hot hot hot Claudius with like wavy, silky brown locks that I am like really enjoying touching. Turns out it's Cheney. Ewwww. I kissed Dick Cheney in my dreams!

So then, I'm in this terrorist education facility. Only it's a strip club with a massive stage and guys handing out free beer to everyone.
"No imports, only domestic," this guy giggles and points to the strippers as explanation when I state my beer preference. "I'll take a glass of water."

So I'm hanging with Cheney and his buds and thinking wow, Dick isn't such a bad guy when he ups and throws water on my crotch. I'm all, WTF Dick? I'm angry and I try to leave, but Dick is having none of that. He offers me some stain remover and threatens me with rendition. What follows are many really frustrating moments of sleeping and waking. Edging towards black hole-like darkness.

And now I have a splitting headache.

One from Henry

Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. - Henry Miller