The Last Word

Well, the last word from Wordstock 08 anyway. . . I wouldn't dream of throwing in the blogging towel now that my readership has doubled to six people. 

The exceedingly gregarious Turiya Autry of good sista bad sista led a workshop entitled Sensing Writing that was to be my last of the day. Most of my senses were bordering on numb by the time I sat down in that final class, but Turiya's exuberance shook the room free of its tryptophan haze (turkey sandwiches at lunch do not lead to wakeful students in the afternoon) and we set to work.

First off— write a sentence that relies on as many of the senses as possible. To which I wrote:
The sky was still a polluted grey, but crisper now, and full of crackling brown leaves brought down by the season.
That toxic Inland Empire* never fails to provide grist for the ol' mill. A number of us offered up our sentences to the squeaky dry erase board and then a few minutes were devoted to organizing them into a poetic mash-up of free form verse. The process was unequivocally more inspiring than the output. Nevertheless, the poetics of disparity were successfully conveyed.

Onward then to a setting rich with sense words:
I wasn't tall enough to look inside the pot on the stove but I liked to stand near it and listen to the low rumble of the boiling stock.

"You'll burn your nose on that eye if you get any closer." Mama would warn, with her back to the stove. The smell of onions engulfed us but my eyes were too dry to respond, warmed as they were by the glowing orange electric coil that heated the mid-day meal.
Thankfully, we Wordstockains were never asked to have any concrete ideas about the plots of our prompts, so it was very easy to just pick an object or topic from the ether and start writing. As the majority of my classes that day were devoted to helping the reluctant adolescent writer put some collection of words on blank paper it seemed fitting that the vast majority of our activities were geared towards the beginnings of writing— the assumption being that once the imagination is in motion it will remain in motion, at least until an alternate force affects it.

*My God, the Inland Empire has a Wikipedia entry. A very long Wiki entry at that. It reveals a startling paucity of the word "wasteland" but seems forthcoming about pollution, San Bernardino's startling crime rate, our cultural achievements, and "a trend toward lower educational attainment." 

When people ask me where I'm from now I just say Monmouth.

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