Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I was fortunate to take a one-day workshop recently, led by Susan G. Wooldridge, author of two poetry books: Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words and Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process. The workshop was hosted by Diane Havnen-Smith at her wonderful Innerstandings Studio, where every need was taken care of by Diane: a welcoming ceremony in her little cedar house, morning treats, a delicious lunch, afternoon snack, and a closing ceremony back in the little cedar house.
During the day, Susan led us in a variety of writing exercises, always preceded with unique prompts and ideas to get us started. One of my favorites was her use of “writing tickets.” These are colorful tickets, each with a word taped on the back, and stored in a special little bag. She handed us each a handful of these tickets and were told to choose from these words to get us started in writing a simple poem. I went home and created my own little bag of words:
In addition to word tickets, she had us choosing words from poetry books, and pages torn from the dictionary. At other times she had us looking at images from postcards, or tromping around in the backyard gathering items for little matchbox shrines. She had us starting our poems by completing phrases:
I am not
I used to be
Etc., the list of beginnings was long
In one exercise she had use Awake/Asleep as a starting point and here is what I wrote:
Awake, I dutifully peel grapefruit and bananas, eating fruits that prolong my life.
Asleep, I eat lightly salted vinegar potato chips and dark chocolate covered almonds.
Awake, I live in a tiny yardless one-bedroom condo, the sound of sirens and cars steady outside my window.
Asleep, I keep discovering doors to rooms I never knew existed, an attic filled with old leather chests and suitcases.
Awake, I travel to the coast and stay at the Chelan in Neskowin, an hour and a half round trip.
Asleep, I’m on a plane to Italy, wearing a well-worn backpack, the straps covered in layers of silver duct tape.
Awake, I water my trailing ivy and the spidery almost leafless ficus benjamina.
Asleep, I have to push aside the palm branches just to get to my front door, the smell of hibiscus in the distance.
Awake, I balance work and classes with family, and reading, and laundry, and never-ending lists.
Asleep, I linger in bed, overstuffed pillows dropping onto my face, my green chenille robe draped across the foot of the bed.
Awake, my alarm rings.
Asleep, I dream.