Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity

Alphabetical indentations on a dictionary

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been away and am playing catch-up so please excuse this late post–a re-post from over a year ago when I first began offering these prompts.

One of my favorite exercises to help myself emerge from a creative slump is to take a dictionary and open it to random pages. Allow yourself to choose a word that appeals to you, then repeat the process about ten times or oftener if you like. You will be surprised how a theme emerges that allows you to construct a poem or short piece of prose with some degree of cohesiveness. Here is an example of a poem I wrote some time ago.


Was it only because the
shadows of crows’ wings
broke across winter fields?

Or because a fractured
glacier succumbed to
oblivion and thus
disappointed beauty?

In the silence of a
hermit’s breath
you can unravel
the sound of grace.

Did the journey
to the center of the
forest tear a
hole in the earth?

Or the void collapse
beneath the burden
of a ponderous
chord? Did dissonance

dissolve the barrier
between ocean and
tide pool until a
wave paused to reflect?

Do you think the light
will come back again
when clay pot shards
become whole?

Did you hear terra-

To me, this is different from working with a wordle. This technique speaks to the role of the unconscious in the creative process because you have chosen the words yourself. Mind you, the poetry is perhaps more obscure than what I usually produce. But it’s fun–try it and, if you will, post it in comments. Please feel free to adapt this exercise to prose if you prefer.