The Idea BoxWritten by Catherine Rankovic
For a long time I kept writing ideas for poems on passing scraps of paper, would lose them, and then lose the chance to write the poem, because the moment of conception, if not captured, never returns. I have actually gotten out of the shower to write down a fleeting idea, or stopped in the middle of a block, put down my things and got out some paper and a pen, and recommend this -- taking your ideas THIS seriously. respecting them THIS much -- to everyone who writes. I've written ideas on post-its and the backs of business cards and the strangest paper scraps. And when I want an idea I go to the idea box and poke around. Today's scrap, a recently inscribed one, said "Polite Applause." So I drafted a poem about polite applause. Yesterday's pick from the idea box was "Hostas." I got partway through it and finished it today. There's a scrap in there that says "Diana Cancer," as in "Her mother's Diana Cancer," and that idea needs to be thought out, but I think it's a good one. Oh, these scraps say all sorts of things, such as "A dinosaur bit me" and "bare metal." They needn't make sense. They're seeds of a poem. The idea box is my best way to keep intact ideas that need to wait.
Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.
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Monday, 07 May 2012 21:05
posted by LV
How great! This would be a fun thing to have your students do. Have them collect ideas over the weeks and then have an in-class free-write based on whichever scrap they pull out of their idea box/file.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 17:18
posted by Alice Azure
I, too--have scraps of paper here and there, most often transferred to a file folder, "Poems Waiting."
Friday, 20 April 2012 07:13
So eerie that you said, "Diana Cancer," as my best friend just visited her good friend and my acquaintance named Diana who is in a nursing home dying of ovarian cancer. It has stirred up all sorts of feelings in both of us, and here you have magically touched upon the trigger again...
There are no coincidences.
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