"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day Four Prompt

The Glimmer

“It’s an image, but it’s an image that has a kind of a ‘glimmer’ to it that suggests itself as worthy of being written about and of having metaphoric potential.  I don’t really want to know what that metaphoric potential is.  I just know that it glimmered at me.  I don’t want to think too much about that, because I don’t want to use this brain- that big analyzer – because I don’t want it to lose its magic its power, before I’ve had a chance to combine it with other unlike objects.” – Pam Houston

“For me, the combining of those glimmers is what makes the potential of a story different from the potential of real life.  If you go out in a boat in Alaska and see a pod of orcas, that’s a really powerful experience.  And there’s no way that language is going to live up to that: theres’ no way that I can describe that in a way that is going to be better than the experience of someone actually going out and seeing the orcas.  But if I can put those orcas next to a conversation about, oh, let’s say imminence and eminence, some conversation that’s got tricky word play in it; if I can put that next to a seven year old with three dozen balloons, well, all of a sudden I might have something.  ..And then I can make something explosive and beautiful in its own way that is no longer dependent on what it feels like in a boat to be with those orcas.  It’s about the combination of the orca and the burrowing owls and the little girl with the balloons.  So I go in there, with what I think of as legitimate pieces, these glimmer things, and I know they all have power.” – Pam Houston
Make a list of glimmery things in your life.  Think of moments of travel. Places.  Animals you’ve seen.  Objects, a view, two minutes of overheard conversation, an image that seems incredible.  In the list, describe each one in a paragraph.
Now choose three separate "glimmers" to connect in a little vignette.  Don’t think and don’t analyze.  Just write and surprise yourself as they come together without effort.

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