Saturday, April 9, 2011

Verbal Expression Laboratory Cutups

This morning, me and Ahmed, (plus our talented test subject) Colette (who is a director of an international non-profit and who also began creative writing at age eleven) met at a noisy distracting coffee house on Capitol Hill to practice verbal expressions. We did three laboratory experiments, but I'm only posting the results of the first one.

Here is my interpretation of Colette's first cutup narrative (on the right; Sorry, Colette, I couldn't help myself, but I applied arithmetic to it):

Two short narratives by Colette
Who knew that a community paper, a mag,
and a tax document could be so fruitful!
My father is a miracle
a reserved man
intentionally left blank

He was a quiet farmer
but an interesting fishermen

"The year is not always a gift,"
     he said.

so, a deer came by
     and I said to him,

Ahmed's schizophrenic story as he called it.

My poem fading like a rattler in the sun

If you'd like to be a participant in these and other challenging exercises you can sign up for our workshop at Seattle Central Community College. It is in the community education section of the spring 2011 course catalog. At the college website: you can search for it using class code number: 6579. We have a few seats left open. The price is a steal at seventy dollars per person. The college gets most all of it and Ahmed & I get to "officially" put this experience point on our resumes. 

The main purpose of this laboratory is to ferret out (and understand through peer processing) the voice in which you "usually" use to compose whatever it is you like to doodle. There are a lot more side effects or benefits to experimentation. If I had not done this cutup this morning, I would never have thought to compose those particular words. Each of us was born with a song (I'm going to wax philosophic now) inside and we express that in many different ways. Often in our lives, we add so much mud into the mix that the sound of this song becomes muddled and difficult to hear. My father expresses his song through problem solving, fixing & designing mechanical systems, blacksmithithing, and from being a provider. My mother expresses her song through caring for others, teaching, cooking, and I'm sure there are other modes in which she hears this song sing. For me, I hear this song sing when I study systems, organize, write, perform, create new things, and connect to others in community. In writing, community is an important detail to help ferret out your internal writers song. For the most part, yes, writing is a solo activity, but it doesn't have to be. I am stronger when I write in community with others. And I believe that this could also be a universal truth too. Okay. I'm going to wax off my philosophic box now.  

One of the things I have learned in conjuring up these exercises (a tolkienesque side stream: I began thinking up exercises a few months before Seattle Door & Window---the company I worked at for four years---went under, but I never had the time to actualize them) is to write (poetry) with brevity. In the previous post (below) on the "Perihelion Blinks into Aphelion" poem, in the comment section I went through the process of editing it. Prior to that moment, it would not have occurred to me that I could pair it down to something so brief even though my fellow members of Red Pen would have tasked me to do it. But this workshop isn't just about poem writing, it is about all verbal expressions of the pen.

So, who is this class for? It is for writers of all levels. It is for the beginner as well as the persons in a furrow that is difficult to see out of. Anyone can benefit from exercising their creativity and experimenting outside of their own boxes they've written themselves into. Come check us out. The first workshop begins Saturday, April 23 at 11:00 in the morning. 

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