Chapter 1 is “Fiction” by Tim Tomlinson. I love reading fiction although I’ve never been a fan of writing it. And I can’t say I’ve really ever tried too hard at writing it because poetry has always been the genre to woo me. I think fiction is going to be the hardest part. But, here goes nothing…
Getting started is usually the easy part for me in poetry. Usually. This chapter encourages one to write from one’s life. I am asked to think about defining moments in my life, occurrences that sparked transitions and the like. Oh. No. I am getting stressed just thinking about logging these events down. Not that I’ve had a crazy, dramatic life either. OK, moving on. I’ll do that after this section.
I know nothing about the rules of writing fiction, but I feel better now that I’ve read “You can’t make discoveries about character types, humor, personal themes, the nature of your imagination, and a whole lot of things critical to the development of a writer if you don’t get the material on the page. And you can’t get the material on the page if you’re hung up about rules” (15). I’m glad we got that out of the way. I can writer personal, I can write based on another’s story, I can write about my parents. Well, maybe I won’t write about my parents. What are the rules anyway?
Apparently, a good rule is being OK with not knowing where you are going. I am certainly OK with that. A lot of the time I don’t know where I am going, I just know I am moving forward. At least I hope I am moving forward. That being said, onto the exercise:
“Select a line from a poem that resonates with you. You can substitute a line from anything… Next, consider a recent (perhaps troubling) dream. Then, recall a problem you’re having with another person” (17).
Now that I have all of these collected in my mind, I am to begin a “fictional account” that will tie these three separate elements together:
1. Poem: “There’s been a lot of fighting/in this little boat/though I’ve been as alone/as before I was born.” – from “Life Boat” by Jack Myers.
2. Dream: A man I’ve never met was chasing me around my mother’s house until I was finally able to shut myself into the laundry room. He punched a hole in the door and I could see him pointing a gun at me. I closed my eyes, waiting for him to shoot. I could hear the bullets, but nothing was hitting me. I could see the bullet holes in the door, all within centimeters of my fingers, my legs, etc. Then I woke up.
3. Conflict: A family member in my life who is very closed-off and selfish. It’s cyclical. I don’t understand it and am frustrated to no end. But, I still try. Why?
***Side note: On the dream portion, I found myself wanting to write a poem! I was even trying to craft my line-endings! I may have to go back and turn this into a poem…
OK: Weaving it altogether, this is what I’ve got:
He couldn’t focus on anything other that the poem on the screen at the memorial. He avoided looking around at others for fear someone would catch his gaze and see how deeply his pain ran. In his mind came a barrage of bullets, memories; he could see them coming at him, shut his eyes, prayed.
He never did ask her if she received the birthday gift he’d sent her, the one he wrapped in her favorite color, although he knew she had. All he had to do was ask, but he didn’t want her obligatory gratitude.