I've been feeling a little stagnant lately. Partly this is due to two ghost-writing projects I'm doing, both biographies and both about very different men...keeping them separated in m mind and giving both my full attention in their turn has not been easy. My own work has been relegated temporarily to the cracks between words, and those cracks have not been particularly wide of late.
Anyway, I was sitting around thinking of ways to get the gears spinning again and remembered a challenge a poet named Rain Graves tossed out on a bulletin board a few years back. She and I both participated, and it was a lot of fun. The idea was simple. People gave us three words - any three words - and we had to write a poem using all three.
Right off the bat, you learn that people are mean. Rather than thinking of words that might inspire great imagery together, they thought of crazed words and words in groups so disparate it rattled the brain just to see them in close proximity. It didn't matter. We wrote the poems, and they turned out so well that I was able to sell four of them for several hundred dollars this past year to be published in an anthology of Horror Poetry.
I decided a couple of weeks ago to try this again and I took groupings of words from readers of my blog, and from Twitter. I got a list of 24 groups, and was revisited by just how creative people can be when trying to be amusing. I have completed all but two of the poems, and again, I've felt the inspiration such an exercise can bring. I may have no award winning poems, but I have new images, some characters I'll use again, and feel as though things have been accomplished. I reccomend this exercise to any and all. Here is one of the poems from this newest group...the rest can be read HERE.
The words: Clamdigger - Slope - Centrifugal
He’d fallen on hard times.
The restaurant up the beach kept him
In hooch if he produced.
He worked in the evenings,
Or very early mornings,
Before the kids started in,
Roaring up and down the boardwalk,
Rushing screaming into the waves,
Surfboards in hand,
Cruel smiles on their lips.
They threw things at him.
They called him ol’ Clamdigger
And spilled his bottle when they could.
He followed the gentle slope of dunes
Down to the crashing waves.
He took his spade and plunged it deep,
Felt the wet suck of sand on the blade.
Water poured into the hole like a whirlpool.,
Centrifugal force fought his efforts.
He found them on the third stroke of the spade,
Turned them up and started down the beach,
Tossing them into his basket and dreaming
Of a time before his one love was named Rose,
Wild and Irish, before his sneakers shared his
Lack of soul. Before he was nothing,
But the ol’ Clamdigger.
He didn’t hear the boy slip up behind him.
When the blade crossed his throat,
He staggered. Blood dripped and stained
The clams. He turned, but
His vision blurred.
He held out the basket and tried to tell the boy
Or the clams might spoil.