Thank you to everyone who came out to Write to the City: Adventures in Social Writing at the Brickhouse on Thursday, and a special thanks to those to who, after each exercise, read their work aloud. For those who wanted a copy of the evening's exercises, here is what Elee and I drew up:
A dadaist exercise from the literary salons of the 1920s and 30s. Begin writing. Do not stop, even if you have to repeat the same word until you can think of a new one. Every thirty seconds someone will call out a word they have written and each writer must incorporate that word into their next sentence. The calling out of words will flow in order around the room. For example, if you have just written, “I made my way downstairs and tripped on the rug…” and the word “mermaid” is called out, you might continue, “…and landed on a mermaid.”
The exercise will begin with: “If Vancouver…”
2. Acrostic Acronym poem
Using the four letter acronyms lifted from Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance create a four-line poem, each line beginning with one of the letters. Or, if another acronym comes to mind, use that.
CIHR Child in the Home of a Relative
MHSD Ministry of Housing and Social Development
PLMS Prevention and Loss Management Services Branch
PPMB Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers
RDSP Registered Disability Savings Plan
RESP Registered Education Savings Plan
Using directions, write about the metaphysical trip, “from here to eternity,” “hand to mouth,” etc. Or use other oppositions (black to white, richer to poorer) and describe how to travel from one to the other.
4. Phone Number Poem
Some poetry forms, like haiku and tanka, invite the writer to come up with a specific number of syllables for each line of a poem. We’ll use Vancouver’s by-law fines phone number to determine how many words each line of your poem requires. For example, if the phone number is 555-1212, your poem will have three lines with five words on each, followed by four lines that have a one followed by two words on the next line, etc.
The By-law Fines telephone number is 873-7642.
5. 3D Narrative
Link the three objects on display in a narrative.
1) measuring tape
2) jaywalking ticket