Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Writing Workout - MoNsTrOuS Fears!

Howdy, Campers!

Be sure to check out the Second Annual March Madness Poetry Tournament and the exciting release of the newest Poetry Friday Anthology...this one for Middle School (details below!)...and welcome to today's

As I mentioned in last week's post, my teacher Barbara Bottner asks writing students to write about our greatest fears as if they were monsters.

So, I asked myself...if my fear of writing mediocre poems and stories were a monster, what would it be like?

It's a blob. A beige blob.  With blood-shot eyes. It's as big as a refrigerator and hunches on the rug blocking the window. It smells. Like a wet giraffe. It has tuna stuck between its yellowing teeth and a runny nose, and it's dropping Snickers wrappers on my clean carpet. And it JUST KNOCKED OVER MY EDGAR ALLEN POE DOLL which was carefully balanced on top of my stuffed dog!

And since Monkey* and I are both afraid of writing something stupid, I'm bringing back a (revised) poem from a post about second-rate writing:

by April Halprin Wayland

You smell of ink and blood and death
and plastics that are burning.

My hands both shake, my headache’s back
and now my stomach’s churning.

I will not let you in today.

(Hooray! I’m learning!)

poem © 2013 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Now it's your turn.

1) What are you afraid of?  Make a list of at least five things that scare you. Are you afraid of snakes? Of flying? If you’re a writer (of COURSE you're a writer!), are you afraid of rejection?

2) Circle the one that scares you the most…or the one that you can’t wait to write about.

3) Make this fear into a creature.  Try to include as many of the five senses as possible--how does it sound?  How does it smell?  Maybe your fear of heights is a moldy grey vulture who hides in caves, makes snarky noises, and wears high tops…or maybe your fear of the dark is a neon green monster with sticky skin and garlicky breath that whispers evil things in your ear.

4) Write a story or a poem about this creature. You might want to speak to it or yell at it. Dialogue is fun to read aloud. Wouldn’t it be neat to YELL at your fear?  Or maybe YOU'RE the creature!

5) Share your writing with someone you want to scare.

ha ha

*In case you haven't met yet, this is Monkey, who will occasionally be writing blog posts for me:

Oh!  I did mention Ed DeCaria's marvelous Second Annual March Madness Poetry Tournament, didn't I?
Ed revealed the 64 "authletes" on Academy Awards night and I'm among them--yay!  As Mary Lee says, "I'm looking forward to the fun (and the stress)!"
And finally, I'm proud to announce the publication of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, which joins the K-5 Edition; both are masterfully compiled by Janet Wong and Dr. Sylvia Vardell. Explore a poem a week for every grade, K-12, with these two books. And for each poem, Janet and Sylvia have cooked up five ways to extend the teachable moment. Wowza!  I am humbled and honored to have poems in both. 

                    Here's the cover of the new middle school edition:


Carmela Martino said...

Terrific revision, April. Isn't amazing how cutting a poem can make the feelings in it stronger? Seems counter-intuitive.
So glad you'll be participating in the March Madness Poetry competition. Can't wait to read what you come up with!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Why thank you, Carmela! And yes, cutting is a magic writing tool. This week, in fact, I've asked my students to take one of their 850 word picture books and rewrite it in only 200 words.

Cynthia said...

I loved the revision. Shorter is stronger. I'll have to look into the March Tournament. - Cynthia

Linda at teacherdance said...

I always learn from all of you, April. Just wanted to let you know that I shared your 'can of worms' poem with my writing group. They loved it. What a blessing to have such a poem to share & discuss! Thanks for this post too-I will use it, hopefully wisely, & in the tournament too!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela and Cynthia, both--thanks for taking the time to read the original poem and compare it to what I posted here! You both get gold stars.

Linda, thanks for letting me know that you shared the poem about jealousy in this blog post:

You are always a welcome here, Linda--we have a blog guest room down the hall. :-)

Robyn Hood Black said...

I hate when that big beige monster lurks outside... I hear IT'S afraid of first-rate writing, so I'm glad to gather much of that to arm myself with as I visit great blogs like yours. ;0) Thanks for all the goodies today.

Liz Steinglass said...

Plastics burning. Yuck. I recognized that smell and feeling immediately.

Bridget Magee said...

GO HOME, indeed! Great revision, April! Congratulations on competing in the March Madness competition - may you and Monkey go far! I'll be reading and rooting for you. =)

Ruth said...

Your big beige monster is wonderful. I mean, not that you want him around, or anything...

laurasalas said...

LOve your poem, April, especially that first line--ink and blood and death--wow!