Deliberately Returning to Unreason with Harrison
Last spring I read Songs of Unreason by Jim Harrison. The collection was a compelling read; so much so, that I went back through it and culled 28 lines as personal writing prompts. Looking back, I realize it was one of the most fruitful times of poetry writing for me, and also one of the most satisfying. While choosing NOT to read any of the poems I wrote in those days, I am returning to the 28 lines with a fresh eye. (Hopefully, 14 months is enough time for me to forget what I wrote before.) Knowing that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry (Burns), I plan to write and post daily for the next 28 days. If you find a line worthy of a writing spark, feel free to join me!
“one pierced moment whiter than the rest”
Clearly, I am not the only one struck by this line – it shows up in quaotables all over the web! From cummings’ poem It Is At Moments After I Have Dreamed, this line, like much of cummings, is piercing.
If it causes a writing moment for you, please share – I would love to read what you write!
Mining for lines again! Actually, it feels more like ‘fishing’ and I am the fish. While my poet-husband reads aloud, lines are dropped with bait on them and lure me to bite. (You caught me – I fished Lake Michigan for a number of years in my youth.) Rudely interrupting his reading, I say , “Wait, wait, wait! Go back – read that line again – the one that starts with…” He is so patient to reread the line, even write it down for me. (This is what happens when poet nerds marry!) This line came from Uriel by Emerson and it screamed at me with possibility. I’ve already written a poem, but it continues to dance around in my head, asking for a fictional counterpart. Hmmm… waiting for it.
“A forgetting wind”
I challenge you to start with this line and see where it takes you. If it ignites creativity, please share – I’d love to read what you write!
Cheers! Jilly 🙂
A forgetting wind stretched
Out its futile
Tousled the trees
Lifted the soaring
The precociousness of clouds
That dared to splay
On the grass, but
It could not reach
Below the rooftops
The lampposts, it could
Not reach the memories
Nor drive out
The stagnant air of regret.
© Jilly’s 2016
‘A forgetting wind’ from Uriel by Emerson.
Mining for Lines Writing Prompt #3
“All the lost fears are here again.” ~Rilke
The clouds across the lake launch two flights, the bright yellow jet, rising isosceles from the runway, belly-revealing, terrifyingly steep, and a great blue heron, bully to the comical cattle egrets, coming in arched wings of perfect geometry, sticks his landing, stakes his claim to the near shore. Not that jet, but another, the Tuesday red-eye, took you away from me and now, as before, I do not sleep. Fear, like the heron, bullies me just after midnight into wakefulness, arguing soundly with reason and logic. Perhaps he will never return. I will circle the airport Sunday at 3:30, while your flight circles the airport for a 4:10 gate call. He was never here; he lives only in your imagination and longing.
Gasping I surface
call you, two time zones away
it rings no answer
© Jilly’s 2016
In response to Writing Prompt #2
I have been Mining For Lines again, this time in my beautiful volume of Rilke. (A gift from The Poet I Love.) This wonderful line comes from the prose work of The Notebooks of Malte Laurid Brigge in the section called [Fears]. If you have never read these passages by this amazing poet, I highly recommend it!
“All the lost fears are here again.”
What does this spark for you? Poetry? Prose? Fiction?
Let me know; I would love to read what you write, my friends!
Cheers, Jilly 🙂
“I am like a leprosy.”
~ John Steinbeck
This line from The Pearl has been dancing around in my head for days now. What does it spark in your writing mind? Poetry? Fiction? Let me know!
Cheers! Jilly 🙂
In search of a muse, the lines of other writers often provide inspiration in the most remarkable ways! When I read; whether a novel, poetry, drama, or non-fiction, I like to use an index card as my bookmark. When memorable lines of inspiration show up they are written down. (I also write down things I want to reference later, like new words or intriguing ideas.) Other times, when I want to be writing but don’t find the inspiration, I pick up whatever is on the coffee-table, and there are stacks, and just leaf through. I am looking for a turn of phrase or anything that jumps out with imagery. These get jotted down in a notebook and become the jumping-off point for something new. I highly recommend it!
This begins a new category on Jilly’s 2016; a place to put writing prompts and a clearing house for what I dig up in my mining expeditions. If you find some inspiration here, please let me know so that I can read your words and celebrate the visit of the muse with you!
28 Days of Unreason prompts, using selected lines from Jim Harrision’s Songs of Unreason, have been connected to this category. Good stuff!
Cheers! Jilly 🙂