Friday Free Write: Three Prompts from ‘Poets & Writers”

Via Poets & Writers:

FICTION:

“So many great films have been released over the past year, many of which have been adapted for the screen from works of fiction and creative nonfiction. This week, think of a movie you love that isn’t based on a book and try to write a short story version of it. Examine the types of shots used, the lighting, how scenes are staged, and try to translate these visuals into the structure of your story. For inspiration, read this article in Electric Literature.”

POETRY:

“…write a poem about your name. When you were born, you were given a name before beginning to develop a sense of self. Have you grown into your name, or have you always resisted it? Knowing who you are today, where you’ve come from, and where you see yourself going, would you choose a different name for yourself?”

CREATIVE NONFICTION:

“The interplanetary travel nonprofit Mars One is holding a competition for those eager to be the first humans to live on Mars. One of the finalists has said, “If I die on Mars, that would be an accomplishment.” Would you ever volunteer for such a mission? Do you have what it takes to survive on a desolate, desert planet? Write about how you’d feel if you got the opportunity to leave Earth. What would you miss, and what would you be glad to leave behind?”

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What is Literature for? via The School of Life

via The School of Life:

“Literature is the greatest ‘reality simulator,’ a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you could ever directly witness… It lets you speed up time, in order to see the arc of a life from childhood to old age…Literature cures you of provincialism and, at almost no cost, turns us into citizens of the world…”

Do you agree? What do you think literature is for? Write it out! 

Link: The Atlantic’s ‘By Heart’ Series

“By Heart” asks authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.

“Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi says the best books are ‘republics of imagination’ erasing national and historic boundaries.” via The Atlantic, By Heart

Follow the link for ‘Writing to Transcend Time and Space,’ Azar Nafisi’s full post on the importance of art.

And be sure to check out the full By Heart series, which includes passages/selections from Gruff Rhys, Jonathan Franzen, Mark Ronson, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and more.

Thinking Outside the Book with Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Otherwise known as the Book Surgeon, Brian Dettmer carves old books new again, using knives, scalpels and other surgical tools to completely transform them into sculptures.

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

Dettmer says of his art, “My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.” — via BoredPanda.com

For more info and photos of Dettmer’s art, head to Bored Panda or the artist’s website at briandettmer.com.

Be sure to also check out this excellent video, in which Dettmer explains his process and approach.

FRIDAY FREE-WRITE: Writing the Unseen…

J.J. Abrams says his unopened mystery box from childhood represents “infinite possibility,” the sense of potential that hangs in balance with the unseen.

Grab your notebook! Trap your characters inside of a mystery box–a car, a freight container on a moving train, a basement, a kleenex box on a desk–any space, at any scale. Describe the setting and tension as accurately as possible without ever finally revealing exactly where they are.

Not feeling it? Revisit a piece of your writing and think about the unseen or off-screen details that haven’t been exploited. Exploit them.