Community of Writers, Old &New Writing Assignments' Journal|
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Community of Writers, Old &New Writing Assignments' LiveJournal:
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|Friday, April 10th, 2015|
Assignment #32: The ABCs of....
What are your
ABCs of? If A were only for apple
, there wouldn't even be enough apples for everyone. That's why we need our own ABCs. What are yours
|Thursday, April 9th, 2015|
Assignment #31- The Rebirth of Cool
Make cool music. Take a banal, lyrically flaccid piece of music or poetry and rework it. Add something to the lyrics that was only hinted at before. Dig deeper into the song than the original writer was willing to go and say what the original writer was unwilling or unable to say. Avoid the twin traps of parody and snark. This exercise is meant to enhance a piece of work. In this case, to make it cool
|Wednesday, April 6th, 2011|
|Wednesday, April 15th, 2009|
Hey -- I just joined this group yesterday & wanted to at least post a quick hello. :-) I'm a poet/writer with a nasty case of writer's block & am hoping this group will give me the impetus to start working to overcome it.
|Wednesday, March 25th, 2009|
Assignment #30: "The War is Over"
Lee Ruth wrote this beautiful song about his memory of the end of WWII:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ_pruiuVIg
In the song, he describes a celebration that brings people together at the end of something horrible. Your assignment is to describe such a scene - be it real or imagined. Perhaps you only think that it is real, or perhaps it is simply unrealized until you make it so. As song lyrics, a poem, or a short story, give us the scene of your big, life-affirming celebration.
|Sunday, March 8th, 2009|
Assignment # 29 - "How's Your Voice?"
In "E.A.R.L: The Autobiography of DMX", DMX writes in simple, straightforward, and (most importantly) honest language about his life getting turned upside-down in 1986. He also includes an important event as a turning point.
In this assignment, give us an honest voice - even if it sounds a little bit flat, a little bit emotionless. Identify a point of change in your own life and write it out. Be brutally honest with yourself.
|Saturday, March 7th, 2009|
Assignment #25 - "The Road"
It goes without saying that The Road is a major theme in literature. Roads, paths, tracks, rivers... it's all The Road.
Your assignment is to write about The Road.
Just go wherever your road takes you.
Assignment #24 - "Jenny's Shirt"
In her poem, "Jenny's Shirt", Maggie Estep gives us a very short, sexy, story - just a few paragraphs - as if to answer the question, "How did Jenny get that shirt?"
Your assignment is easy - first, write your question, but don't include it in the final composition. Make it a simple, common question about a common object like, "Why was the door left open?" or "Whose shoes are these?"
Include the object in the title of the composition, and write around it in order to answer the question.
In the very last sentence, start with the phrase, "And that's how...".
Assignment #23 - "Stagger Lee Shot Billy DeLyons Assignment"
Hundreds of singers have recorded their versions of the old Stagger Lee song. The Grateful Dead have one, Bob Dylan has one, Mississipi John Hurt did it, too - I have one coming and so should you.
Here's a little background on the subject of your assignment - the 1895 Murder of Billy Lyons (aka Billy DeLyon) by Lee Sheldon (aka Stagger Lee, Stag-O-Lee, Stagolee, Stack-A-Lee, Skeeg O'Lee, and Stack O'Lee). The suspect is considered "so bad that the flies wouldn't even fly around his head in the summertime, and snow wouldn't fall on his house in the winter." according to Julius Lester, author of Black Folk Tales.
Your work is to write an original poem of the events surrounding the murder. The only stylistic requirement here is that you'll need to include the phrase "That bad man, oh, cruel Stack O' Lee."
Here is a good site with some more background about the story http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/stagroot.htm
Assignment #20 - "Piggy"
Hopefully you've all been fortunate enough to be able put on a little over the holidays... had something on the table, had something to celebrate - and hopefully not more than you feel good about.
This last holiday season, I had a perfect opportunity to reflect on Allen Ginsberg's intensely sensory poem, "C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization, Eat More Grease" and my own luxurious dietary habits.
Your assignment is this: Write something about overindulgence. Keep it personal, but not in the first person. As always, be honest and unflinching down to the last disgusting detail.
Assignment #19 - "Fortune Cookie Man"
We eagerly break open fortune cookie after bland fortune cookie, knowing full well that we'll be needing to eat them after wards - the cheap ones cut my gums and leave sandy little crumbs everywhere- and the vacuous junk they tell us! OH! The unholy bubbling junk! Wealth! Power! Love! The boring promises held in the dark hearts of these shitty little cookies!!!
Ron Padgett, if only...
But, as you said in 'The Fortune Cookie Man', "Working for ten years now at the fortune cookie factory and I'm still not allowed to write any of the fortunes."
No, you wouldn't do any worse than they would... not when the fortune cookie writers are doing their evil damnedest to stunt our dreams and goals by assuming we are all greedy, lonely, insecure, and worst of all - unimaginative! It's a crime! That's what it is! You CAN do better. We all can.
This week's assignment is clear. It's not just an assignment, it's a mission. Write fortunes. Be sincere - you are charged with undoing the damage wrought by a whole lot of lame fortune cookies. Not just fortune cookies, either - things like candy hearts and shiny greeting cards might also be to blame for the wretched condition of things.
As per usual, any format is fine, and feel free to assume cookies of any size. Hell, write your fortune for a watermelon if you like!
At least three of your fortunes should be dedicated to certain people in particular - whether they're just friends or well-known personalities is up to you.
Swear only once in only one of your fortunes. Remember that Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse Five' was banned because it contained one single instance of the word 'fuck'. (That cookie should be dedicated to a real asshole)
And finally, don't forget to preheat your oven, but leave your cookies just a little bit raw.
Assignment #18 - "Stolen Poems"
B.L. Kennedy gives us more than a poem, he gives us his life's example, and all he wants is some photocopies. When his stolen journal containing 33 poems turned up at an auction - the asking price was $10,000.
"Kennedy, 52, still is subsisting on the government assistance he receives for a heart condition. He had quadruple bypass surgery shortly after writing the journal.
Since then, he has published 23 books of poetry and organized poetry marathons, an annual tribute to Beat Generation icon Jack Kerouac and other literary events. But it doesn't pay the bills: Kennedy said he recently had $8 in the bank."
The rest of the story is here
Your assignment is to write a poem:
1. Address the monetary value of poetry.
2. Include something about B.L. Kennedy
3. Write it on a piece of paper and leave it somewhere to be stolen.
(More information about B.L. Kennedy and a little of his work on this hall of fame site.
Assignment #17 - "Pull No Punches"
With his poem "The Night of the Living Tits"
David Lerner gives us "one of those nights".
Give us one of yours. If you've never had one, perhaps now's the time.
now, bawdiness need not be a requirement - but as per usual, naked beauty of the moment and sincerity are indespensible.
Your assignment is to include two instances of perfectly indecent, beautiful nakedness that took place in a fleeting moment that aren't physical in nature.
Include something or someone that you love or think beautiful.
With all of your sincerity and skill, put us there and remember to pull no punches.
Assignment #16 - "Write Your Own Ten Commandments"
Tony Medina gave us his poem, "Ten Commandments of a Street Poet,"
my favorite of which is #10; "Don't let the 20th Century end with a panel discussion".
Give us your own Ten Commandments. Hell, make it eleven. Make them long, make them brief. Keep them honest. Include for us at least one with the theme of 'A Cure' for something - for convenience's sake and our sense of purpose, as well as an 'ill' somewhere in there, since every good cure needs a good ill.
Assignment #15 - "Fear, Fight, or Sublimate"
I'd like here to write about xenophobic attitudes and what the beats called a "square", but I'm not going to. I'm talking about the "outsider effect", and since everyone must feel like an outsider at some point or another, we're all able to write within the "write what you know" guideline.
The beats were outsiders. They fought fearlessly and sublimated their outsider status in everything they did.
In the poem, "The Threat", Fred Voss writes,
"Each day I will stand a rose in a jar of water
on the workbench behind my machine.
I want to really terrify my fellow workers
You are tough as nails, fearless, creative, willfull and naked. Let someone else wear the armor.
Your job is to observe others for now. Like William Burroughs, be invisible. Write about what scares people. What is a square? How does one sink into squarehood, and is there a way out?
Assignment 14 - "Bomb Assignment"
Mike Mollett, of the Carma Bums, becomes something horrible and lives to tell about it in his poem "I Am the Bomb"
He tells us like it is - "Stop me sucker. You can't." and gives us the inside scoop on all of the horrible things he can do.
Your job is to become one of technology's great anti-heroes. I would like to say "inanimate object" here, but to call the Bomb 'inanimate' seems hopeless and foolish. Clearly, the term "orgasm" is no understatement. Perhaps Mollett chose to write about the bomb because it possesses such a life force of it's own. Try and locate one of the great animated beasts that technology has created and become that beast, then describe for us your true impact.
Assignment #13 - "Incomplete Directions"
Steve Dalachinsky wrote a poem called 'Incomplete Directions'
, for Bernhard Streit, which leads, in its own way, to eternity through signs which tell us unabiguously what we ought to do, like "Don't feeed the birds" and the passing of time, and dreams, writing, and the ambiguous signs of everyday objects and things we encounter.
I'd like to describe more of it to you, but instead I'll describe a writing assignment. Choose a destination and set your creative controls for a course with the intention of possibly getting there. People like high School Guidance counsellors asked you to do this, but they were never ready to accept an honest answer like "eternity" as a career goal, were they?
Of course there'll be trouble on the way, which you'll need to discuss and plan a solid contingiency. Why not plan to have trouble? Relish the thought! Have a bottle of bubbly ready to break open when you get a flat tire. Or get pissed. What is a vehicle? Analogies... why do they keep popping up?
Incomplete Directions for your assignment:
clear a rough and messy path through your present reality to get to your chosen (or inevitable) destination.
Assignment #11 "Give Us a Character"
In a poem called 'The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Richard Brautigan gives us a great character and some adventures.
Baudelaire is a lot more like Dr. Suess's Cat in the Hat than Burrough's Dr. Benway. Kurt Vonnetgut had Kilgore Trout. Counting Crows had Mr. Jones.
Give us a character - have some adventures.
|Friday, March 6th, 2009|
Assignment #10 - "Daily Routines"
I read a poem by Reg E. Gaines called "Welcome to Mcdonalds" - The McDonald's atmosphere is perfect - noise elements, stress elements, sexy young things, garbage, lust, and ultimate frustration... all for want of one of the simplest things, a hamburger and french fries.
Your assignment is to describe the chaos, beauty, repulsive qualities, etc, of a simple and routine interaction.
Assignment #9 - "The Anti-Hero"
In the poem, 'Skinhead'
, Patricia Smith
gives us a vivid anti-hero from the first-person point of view with lines like;
"with a lead pipe up my sleeve,
a razor tucked in my boot.
I was born to make things right."
Your assignment is to show us your anti-hero from the first person point of view.
The second part of your assignment is to work a back-handed 'thank you' for anti-hero into your work, written in the second or third-person perspective - or a combination of the two.
The best example I can think of for the second part is William S. Burrough's 'Thanksgiving Prayer'
, which ends with the spectacular line:
"Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams."