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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Creative Writing Workshop #1: Seeing Things in a New Way

Once you've seen a tornado, you never look at a severe storm alert in the same way. Alerts are no longer abstractions - they have the roaring wind, blinding rain, and golf ball-size hail as their concrete objective correlatives.

It's refreshing to be able to see things in a new way, and many times, creative writing strategies can help you alter your perspective.

In a recent workshop that took place at the Coffee House on Cherry Street, a diverse group came together with the goal of building creativity and seeing how we could apply them in every day life. Organized under the auspices of Tulsa Geological Society, AAPG, and Humanities Institute, the workshop emphasized using examples from literature, especially literature that explores the sciences and psychology, to help teach oneself to re-perceive the world around us. 

Changing places:
Think about reversing activities or changing places.  You may wake up one day and find that your self and consciousness are now inhabiting the body of the white German Shepherd you teased as you walked the fenced yard it protected.

Heart of a Dog, by Mikhail Bulgakov
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain

Write from the perspective of a different person:
Consider yourself to be another person and write as though you were that person. It can be in any form; a dramatic monologue, or simply thoughts.

The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa
“Cuchulain’s Fight with the Sea” by William Butler Yeats

Disjunctive modifiers:
Vivid descriptions by creating modifiers that clash and do not seem to go together, but they make you see things in a new way.

A Route of Evanescence” by Emily Dickinson
Abstentions” by John Ashbery

Mangled Quotes

Find quotes from a person that is more or less famous, and first, respond to it (as though the quote were an introduction) and then modify it for your personal entertainment.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
   Thou art not so unkind
      As man’s ingratitude;
        William Shakespeare

“Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination” – Immanuel Kant
“No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience” – John Locke
“He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors” – Martin Heidegger

Recommended Books: 
Levin, Lynn, and Valerie Fox (2019) Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, Vol. 2. Texture Press.

Nash, Susan Smith. (2013) Writing for Human Relations. Texture Press.  (free Kindle version)

 Recommended Energy Leadership MBA (100% online, low tuition options) AACSB Accredited. Information page. Texas A&M University Texarkana.

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