Dear Gather Writing Essential Denizens:
I feel like I’m walking into a room with 1900 strangers in it.
I’ve been asked to serve as the Sunday GWE Editor, and it is my privilege and pleasure to accept. Â It’s going to be a challenge. Â I gather not every editor does a weekly prompt, but I have so enjoyed the prompts of Kimberly, Len, Andrea, Greg, et al. that I just assume that I will do one. Â I suppose it will be like writing a weekly column, which I’ve never done before. Â I’m going out on a really big limb. Â Or should I say a really small one?
I’m fully expecting (probably needlessly) to fumble the ball on the goal line, put my foot in my mouth at the press conference, and be tabloid fodder for the next ten years. Â But, as the wag said, a turtle can’t get anywhere unless it sticks its neck out. Â So here goes:
I have an abiding love for modern poetry. Â I’m also writing short stories and humor pieces, something I just started doing in the last year, and something about which I realize I have a tremendous amount to learn. Â So I thought I would offer something a little different, I think, from, well, from other things that aren’t the same.
Modern poetry is not about rhyming, and it’s only occasionally about structure. Â It’s about imagery and economy and richness of language. Â So we are going to survey the poetic devices modern poetry employs, devices like metaphor, simile, alliteration, synecdoche, zeugma, and other arcane words you never heard of.
On the prose side, I’m going to use a wonderful book called Point Of View: An Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Moffett and McElheny. Â The Anthology surveys the various narrative points of view from which a story can be written, working from the smallest (interior monologue) to the broadest (omniscient narrator, no point of view), with explanations and several classic examples of each.
Poetry Prompt: Write a poem with at least one metaphor in it. Â For an example, look at my The Reckoning. Â There are several principal metaphors in this poem: a recovering alcoholic as a cat, a plastic bag as a falcon, as well as minor ones, such as the plastic bag as a cave.
Prose Prompt: Write a short short story that is told via the device of interior monologue, that is, the thoughts going through one person’s head. Â Keep it under 1000 words, please. Â A classic example is Dorothy Parker’s A Telephone Call. Â You really must read this if you haven’t already. Â It’s a hoot.
Put Sunday Writing Essential in the title and SunWE in the tags. Â Post by next Sunday if you can. Â If you can’t , it’s cool. Â Submit it when you can. Â I will comment on every submission and put a link to it in the next column. Â If you want a more candid, academic critique (but still very friendly, soft-pedal, positive), put the word “rigorous” somewhere in the post (e.g. “rigorous critique wanted”).
Your guidance, feedback, and candid criticism will be welcome and wanted. Â Your participation will be an honor.