Writing Advice: “Eschew rationality, meaning and ‘good taste’.”

roybattyex

If you find yourself unable to write, don’t write. Play with your words.

Here’s a great unplanted seed for a writing exercise: Go to your favorite website and find an article that contains a not negligible amount of text. Highlight a paragraph and the copy it to your clipboard.

I’ll do this with you. I’m going to nytimes.com. BRB:

Sunayana Dumala tried once again to enter the worship room she and her husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, had created in their home for daily prayers. Mr. Kuchibhotla had built an intricate wooden shrine by hand two years ago, a small sacred edifice where they would kneel each morning. Months after his death, it became a place where she would honor him.

OK, so I have my text.

Now pick a number. (I chose 3.) Go into the text an erase every X word. It’s SORT OF an arduous task, but at least your brain is spending time with the words and their meanings and connections. Then, I’m going to get rid of all the punctuation and make every letter lowercase. BRB:

sunayana dumala once again enter the room she her husband kuchibhotla had in their for daily mr kuchibhotla built an wooden shrine hand two ago a sacred edifice they would each morning after his it became place where she honor him

Now invent a form based on numbers and letters that have significance to you. If you have tarot cards they can be helpful in this step. I’ll do that. King of Coins. That features a pentagram in this deck. Five lines per stanza. The card I’ve pulled in this deck features a self-portrait of Dali restraining a leashed leopard. There’s also a gentle, prone cow in a yellow fog blowing up and out of Dali’s head. That makes me think of a certain hunter/hunted duality. A certain predictable unevenness.

I’m going to alternate my line length 5, 10, 5, 10, 5. This kind of stuff is dumb, for sure, but it just gets your brain going.

sunayana duma
la once again enter the room she 
her husband kuchi
bhotla had in their for daily mr kuchi
bhotla built an wood 

en shrine hand two a
go a sacred edifice they would each 
morning after his 
it became place where she honor him sun
ayana duma

Now move the lines around in any way you see fit. Let go of all the rules. Do something that you don’t understand. Translate some words and phrases into Italian.

la once again enter the camera she 
bhotla had in their for quotidiano mr kuchi
go a sacro altare they would each 
it became place where onora il sole

sunayana duma
her husband kuchi
bhotla built an wood 
morning after his 
ayana duma
en shrine dare due lettere

Play with it some more. Trim off the fatty, hard-to-chew bits. Smell what the rock is cooking. Don’t question yourself. Find ways to make new phrases, invent new tastes. Create meaning where there was none. Skewer meaning where there was some. Boil down all the excess, tasteless liquid. Make the phrases economic. This is for your ears and heart only, no one else’s.

la once again enters the camera she 
had in their for quotidiano mr kuchi
a sacro altare they would each 
upon it became place onora il sole

sun burnt her enemies
just as her husband mr kuchi
built a wooden mooring 
the morning after his 
second skin graft parchment
enshrined dare due lettere

That’s it. Eschew rationality, meaning and “good taste”. Don’t worry about judgment, neither from outside nor within. The exercise is just meant to get your brain good and juicy. To force you to conceptualize in weird corners of consciousness. Make the process your own. Don’t listen to teachers. Unless they’re good teachers.

When your engine is warm and you’re ready to write that big important thing that comes from someplace personal and genuine and urgent, your mind will be nimble, flexible, willing to go where it needs to go to put heart to mouth.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 404

wiki404-final

“You imagine an alley a little kingdom / where the mother-tongue is spoken / a village of shelters woven / or sewn of hides in a long-ago way” Adrienne Rich from “In The Wake of Home”

after Nancy Bauer, phenomenologist; Amiri Baraka, father; and Nick Montfort, explorer:

people 
    thinking
of the sea from
  
baraka’s trespass 
    what little you can hear 
echoes out from the work 

to lift 
human voices to discover a 
chorus

    adopts the feeling continually breaking silence 
    the landscape in american history
is merely a discussion on traditional numerology

the hills are a start
    out of thought may experience 
    a germination of genre 

    the work 
        we find researched 
    draws pseudo-scientific inference 

it's a living 
out of feeling 
and lyric flight

o that the mathematicians 
were right of brick 
baraka’s trespass you hear echoes of the manuscript 

it is a start 
out of his waves 
be hideous uses 

the term numerology 
is often a native guard 
words names any belief 

in sonnet form
his writing were a start 
    out of the little you 

    experimentary of thought 
    experimentary mutually affectually 
        in numerology and wine and time sweet as 
            your work

Wikipedia Poem, No. 268

Wiki268

“So the first dignity, it turns out, is to get the spelling right. ” Robert Hass

 

walk south west becoming-man
walk north east colombian teen
stretched overhead not yet static

from under a baby blue polo
a slingshot no the sky what
is he looking for the divine

not yet hands scrape static
from under a baby blue sky
what is he a colombian teen

stretched thin brown hands
scrape under a slingshot
no the sky the looking rod

not yet young flanking through
his brown handsome powerful
pelt peeks out from under a baby

a slingshot no what is he looking
at a scrape of static in the sky
the beast on terrace place becoming-man

walks north east the colombian stretches
thin arms overhead handsome young
powerful a slingshot through his brow

paculum-spec2-sm

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