Good day, one and all.
Before we begin our second exercise, try to find somewhere quiet where you can work, and in addition, somewhere you cannot see a TV screen or the outside world through a window.
You should pick a time where you have 30 – 60 minutes free, with no rushing around, no kids to pick up from school, no cooking to tend. Just find yourself some space and quiet to drift away.
In addition, you will need access to a clock or watch so that you can allow a set time for the different sections of the exercise.
The Times of Day
For centuries artists have been inspired to paint dawn or dusk; poets revelled in a new sunrise; writers peopled chapters with dreams or creatures of the night; musicians composed and celebrated their way through the day.
In this exercise we are going to use the time periods of the day to dip into your unconscious and pull something very personal from the minute collections and passed hours.
Our premise: It is generally accepted in the western world that there are four time periods in a day: morning, afternoon, evening & night.
When you are ready, without debating the pros and cons of the above statement or preparing your thoughts on the subject, quickly jot down your gut reactions, first thoughts or instantaneous recollections associated with each part of the day as given above.
You do not have to work through the time periods in order and can start with whatever time period first springs to mind.
Spend 2 or 3 minutes on each part of the day but as soon as you start to dry up or consciously think things through, please stop and move on to another time period.
After these 8-12 minutes (approximately!)of instinctive responses, stretch your legs or make a drink, but if you start thinking things through or fleshing out ideas, get back to your writing spot.
Next, read back through your notes and as soon as an ideas or time period starts to dominate your thoughts, run with it. Give yourself 20 – 30 minutes to create a poem about one, some or all of the times. Whether you find yourself using a few of your jottings or none, just go with it.
The original idea of this exercise is to create a poem which is as instinctive and personal as possible. All we have as prompts are a few simple words that we are so used to we barely acknowledge their significance any more. Yet they can instantaneously conjure up rich experiences, a certainty or fragility that comes straight from our core. What could be better than that?
This will very likely be as much about the flow and play of words as about recall or invention, so a suggestion might be to keep saying your poem over and over to see how it feels or sounds.
NB: If you are a slow starter or the theme hooks right into you then feel free to increase your writing time. Remember, you aren’t expected to write a polished poem and may indeed be creating a first draft to build upon or improve at a later date. Or maybe a pure masterpiece.