Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.
I will share my reflections along the way.
I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.
Poem: Fire by Judy Brown https://wordsfortheyear.com/2018/06/02/fire-by-judy-brown/
Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg Slow Walking chapter
And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny Erpenbeck : Homesick for Sadness and Hope
The poem was one that Sarah Selecky shared this week. I am drawn to the idea of space that is represented in the poem and the need for it in order for fire to burn. You cannot pack logs too tightly or it will suffocate. Stories need a certain amount of space in them. I like flash for the reason that you can leave space for the reader to bridge the ideas together. I need to think of this when I revise my story today.
The story is from a publication I admire greatly. This story is told in smaller pieces that are collaged together. I am drawn to these lines: She made me feel like a chrysalis on the verge of opening up. I haven’t decided if the lips I’ve yet to kiss will taste like the salt that comes from the ocean or the sugar that comes from funerals.
I have used the last line as a title before. I have also taken Kathy Fish’s advice and used a cut line as a title.
For some reason, I am drawn to the use of salt in a story.
NG’s chapter is about the idea of slow walking: feeling the bottoms of your feet connect to the ground to anchor yourself to the world. I like anchors for a story. If you followed. my posts during May you would know that I included anchors for most of the stories I wrote for storyaday. If I keep certain things in mind, especially a list, then I will not veer off into a weird direction.
Slow walking is a piece of her in person retreats.
Her last line: It’s good to do ridiculous things. Please, not on a highway.
The memoir flash pieces are interesting. One is centered around a school building that isn’t there anymore and alumni write an obituary for it. This made me think about how to incorporate an obituary of an unusual object into a story.
The essay titled HOPE has a pattern of one sentence paragraphs. She toggles between three generations and ages and their hopes.
When my grandmother was ________________ she hoped ___________________.
I like this repeating pattern and plan to play with it. I am sure that a new piece could emerge. I cannot think of a piece I already have right now that it would benefit to use as a revision tool.
I am working under the idea that good words in with the challenge means good words out when I write.
Kathy Fish also is hosting her reunion this weekend so I am thrilled to have new prompts from her. Kathy has a great newsletter and she is working on a book which I will preorder as soon as I am able!
I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!
Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!