Archive for the ‘Travel and Tourism’ Tag

Pirene’s Fountain   Leave a comment

Lincoln's death bed

Tomb Painter, the first of the two poems of mine that Pirene‘s Fountain published in May of 2009, was written after a pretty horrific prompt. A friend of mine, who at the time was working for a cleaning service, had been called to clean a home after a suicide, and had taken a picture of the bed where the person had shot themselves. It was pretty gruesome, but all I could think of, looking at this picture being passed around, is the inn in Washington DC where they took Lincoln after he was shot, across from the theater, and how, as an eighth grader, it had deeply affected me, walking around the bed, seeing the pillow with its faint brown stain.

I thought about this weird connection, how a person might fit in both places, how one place could lead to another. It lead me to images of Lincoln, his death mask, which lead me to the death masks and photographs of other dead persons, photographed in their coffins. I thought about the person behind the camera, was it a relative, a professional brought in, an employee of the funeral home? What about crime scenes, suicides, who dreams of being a photographer of the dead, as opposed to babies and weddings and school children?

The result of all of these threads, after free writing, sketching out a character, cutting and pasting, was the poem Tomb Painter.

What intrigues you? Have you seen a photograph, read a poem or short story, that reminded you of something else? Explore the threads that bind them together in your mind, see what other associations you can make from them. Create a story or poem of your own, using these threads.

Doorknobs and Body Paint   Leave a comment

Body-painted naked cyclists, a longstanding tr...

Image via Wikipedia

The fun thing about Doorknobs and Bodypaint is the prompts they give in the guidelines for each issue. They are split up into Dorsal, Doorknobs, Hayward Faultline, Tapas, and the Cairo Room. The Cairo Room can be anything within the issue’s theme, such as the theme for my issue, in February, was Love,  the most recent one was Hot Summer Nights.  Each of the other sections must include a certain word, or turn of phrase, or setting. For example, the Hayward Faultline prompts for the Work issue last May were:

HAYWARD FAULT LINE (shake us up)
1. Maximum length: 450 words.
2. The sub-theme is: toil.
3. The setting is: Auckland, NZ.
4. Within the story, you must use this bit of text: gum up.

Fun prompts like these give a writer a chance to stretch out of their comfort zones, look at new ideas and old stories in ways that they hadn’t thought of before.

For example, the story I had published there in February, “Hello Young Lovers” was already pretty much written when the guidelines came out, but I hadn’t found a home for it yet. It was the only real love story I had sitting around on my hard drive, but the prompts from DK & BP required the story to take place in the mid fifties, and my story was a modern one. So, I changed Baby Girl‘s Juicy Couture jeans into pedal pushers, played a little with the language, changing a few words to include the phrasing the Dorsal prompt required, (charity of second chances was originally just plain old second chances), and a masterpiece was written. At least, I convinced myself and the editors of DK & BP it was so.

Today, click on the link, read through some of the old and new guidelines for Doorknobs and Body Paint, and try your hand at one. Send it to them, or post it here with me.  Stretch those writing wings a little.