melding art & literature between the digital & material worlds

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formulas

formulas are writing prompts tailored to jumpstart a exercise or explore a new tool. they can also be the ground work for some amazing new blossoms.

FORMULAS

USE THESE TO JUMPSTART A WRITING SESSION

  1. How does texting impact your slip into the world? Read I-phone Notes, 12:11 PM by Jaclyn Alexander in Prelude. Look through your phone and choose lines from texts and messages. Play with different lines and make a poem or, if you choose, prose; mine your texts to create a surreal scene or dialogue.

  2. What if your country was your child, your sister, or your nemesis? Or all three? Read America, I Sing Back by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Let your nation, or absence of nation even, become a body that you write to your poem or narrative.  

  3. Peep Shira Erlichman’s music video Literally Dead from her upcoming album, “Subtle Creature.” Her song is an anthem against monotony and doubt. What happens when we kill monotony and let absurdity reign? List a few images that signify monotony for you and a few images that bust that. Then play with tensions between them as Shira does in her music video. Think of your bedside table -- what is there? A water bottle? An old book? An ashtray? The little things we keep close before bed are often underestimated. How do these small comforts relate to who we are, to what we desire, to what we need?

  4. Read “Future Biometrics” by Jillian Weise. Consider the satire of this line: “You’re lucky we have other bodies/ to put your daughter in.” Weise imagines a phone call. A dis/abled body, a daughter’s body more specifically, is found and collected. Consider how Weise uses the voice of the caller to convey her character and write a piece that uses that device, include a phone call or a voicemail.

  5. Read Sherwin Bitsui’s poem No one untucked from their bodies… and consider the contrast between corn stalks growing in bellies and the phone ringing. Take images from your life and play with the contrast between the surreal and the mundane.  

  6. Read Orphan: The Plural Form by Sun Yung Shin. “English has so many of these tiny words that mean so much—and, the, an, if, so . . .” And yet in spite of all this,  language often fails us. Think of a word like “adoptee,” a word that may not exist in an official dictionary but describes your experience. Define that word and define yourself. Form and re-form the meaning of words.

  7. Make a list of promises you wished were kept. Maybe they were from a loved one? A friend or roommate? They don’t even have to be maliciously broken. Or what about promises you have made to yourself. What do you need to remind yourself to hold?