1. Start with a line from someone else and
a. Rewrite it in your own words, based on your experience.
b. or Change one word.
c. or Use the same first letter for each word, but change the words.
d. or Use the first line as your last line.
When I walk from the house to the car
I lift the lid from a small, wood box
Over the phone my mother…
You never knew my friends and I would sneak away (letter to someone who’s dead. In it make a confession)
Just once, I want to face…
The fiercest window is the mirror.
I find my father in his recliner. He says…
The truth is I have a daughter…
From Ray Carver’s Ultramarine
By the time I came around to feeling pain and woke up
There isn’t enough of anything as long as we live. But at intervals a sweetness appears and, given a chance, prevails. It’s true, I’m happy now.
Awakened this morning by a voice from my childhood that says, Time to get up, I get up.
He was never the same, they said, after that. And they were right.
The four of us sitting around that afternoon.
From Sherman Alexie’s Face
The doctor tells me my father’s story
Let us remember the wasps
From Ted Kooser’s Delights and Shadows
Today you would be ______years old
2. Start with a title
a. Write a long title with lots of specific information
b. or Write a poem for the end of something with the word “Last “in the title.
c. or Name a specific time and/or place in your title.
d. or Title your poem, “On Turning________”
3. Start from memory:
a. Write about a first experience;
b. or write about where you were and what you were doing when a major new event happened;
c. or write about something you wish you could remember more clearly and try to imagine what you can’t recall.
4. Start from the next thing you see
5. Expanding the sentence
a. write an opening sentence.
b. Now, delete the period, add a comma
c. and then add one of the following words or phrases to your sentence: but, or, and, like, as if, as though, although, because, when, in spite of
6. Write about a place that used to be yours—write about the senses, then write about the emotions.
7. List your various selves, including their hopes and fears. Make three lists: Past, Present, Future (hopes), Future (fears)