Saturday, August 24, 2013

Creative Writing Imagination Exercise

            At Thursday evening's Gotham Writers’ Workshop free 90-minute Creative Writing 101 class in Bryant Park’s Reading Room, Alex Steele invited participants to engage in several short writing exercises, including one focusing on the imagination. Inviting those in attendance to randomly attach nouns to the word “the”, the class developed the following list to serve as writing prompts.
            The Stones (my contribution)
            The Girl
            The Statue
            The Eyesore
            The Voice
            The Google
            The Panelist

            Raising my pen above my pad of paper with list of prompts, I closed my eyes and lowered my hand, the tip of the pen coming to rest on “The Panelist”.   I then wrote, allowing my imagination to lead me.  This four paragraph vignette is the result.

            The panelist sat in his own sweat, not sure how to respond to the question from the audience.  He had been billed as a man of knowledge, an expert even, and a profound thinker, yet he had no words, no ideas, and no answer to offer in response to the query. His mind was as blank as Kant’s tabula.
            His heart pounding at a fearful rate, his fingers fidgeting with pencil in his hand, he loosened his shirt collar as he thought his moment of silence certainly betrayed his incompetence. Then it struck him, like a dream image arising from Jung’s collective unconscious. Inspiration burst forth.
            “You ask a deep and profound question” he said, “and sometimes, I think—no, I believe, that the questions we ask are far more important than any answer someone might give us. So never stop asking questions.  And do not take the bullshit answers of so called expert panelists as the last word.  The answer to your question, if there is an answer, is within you.”
            He paused.  He heard a silent gasp, then a single hand clap followed by a cacophony of hands clapping and growing exponentially into thunderous applause.  He set his pencil down, folded his hands in front of him, looking smugly at the audience in front of him.  With humble self-confidence he breathed a sigh of relief.  His reputation as a profound thinker was intact.


Wilderness Wonderings said...

Bravo! So I wish I had access to such workshops in my neck of the woods....

John Edward Harris said...

Gotham Writers Workshop offers some on-line courses but I do not have any personal experience with them.. I have not paid for any of their courses. I have attended those courses that are free.