June 9, 2011
Tuesday I returned (at long last!) as co-host to San Diego Writers, Ink’s Brown Bag Drop-in Writing Group. I host it every other week but had taken a leave due to my teaching schedule last semester.
The premise of BB is simple: you come in, I read a prompt from my black box of prompts, and then we write for a set period of time (within an hour). After the time limit we then read our pieces aloud. No critique, just listening.
I’m so glad to be back. It makes for such a rewarding hour, especially since it’s on Tuesday; it helps to ease me into the rest of the week.
If you’re someone who has trouble finding that time to write then definitely join or start a group like this, or, hold your own private, one-person Brown Bag writing hour. (I recommend using Judy Reeves’ A Writer’s Book of Days !)
I also love finding/getting my own prompts. Sometimes I’ll find them online, on a writing webpage, but most of the time I take lines from poetry or prose and use those as prompts. For example, here are some past prompts:
Write about Food and Comfort (from James Merrill’s Poem “Maisie”)
You became so attached to the objects of our home (from David Plante’s The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief)
This week’s prompt also came from James Merrill– I think all of the prompts I’ve used are from his book From the First Nine: Poems 1946-1976. (of which I have a first edition!).
The street, if it ends at all, ends here (from “Light of the Street, Darkness of Your Own House”)
I’ve even used the title of the poem as a past prompt–which made for some great writing from everyone.
Here are some lines from the brief scene I wrote during that Brown Bag session:
There were no real streets on the reservation. No side walks. Nothing that indicated where one yard began and the other ended. No stops or starts. In this way we were all connected. The warmth from the oven of one home was felt in the chest of someone in the next . The rise of bread, the sinking of hopes. An open window carried voices, songs, welcomed anger, provided temporary escape for regret.
And definitely take a look at James Merrill’s poetry. It will inspire!