Today’s fiction class brought us a visiting writer who spoke about collaborative writing. I’ve always thought of writing as a very personal experience, so the idea of working together on a piece of writing was a strange and slightly disturbing idea. To practice, she brought up a writing prompt that I hadn’t seen in many years–since my days at Washington University’s summer writing experience, in fact. The idea is this: you pick a verb. I picked “dreaming.” You think about whatever comes to mind about that verb, ideas and nouns you associate with the verb. Between the prose I wrote from a few years ago and the piece I wrote today, I’d say I’ve improved. If I find the original piece, I’ll post it, but I may have thrown out the old notebook.
Dreaming is fields of lavender in Provence, honey bees drifting from one purple bloom to another. Dreaming is the silence in the dark, the sweetness in the stars. Dreaming is forgetting your own name so you can reach a plane where everyone is equal because they are no one. Dreaming is the beach of black sand, boulders of blue ice drifting across the volcanic ash. Dreaming is the moon, half-hidden by storm clouds holding old memories. Dreaming is the warm earth under your bare feet, when you are surrounded by fields of golden wheat. Dreaming is sitting at a desk with a thousand ideas but frozen fingers. Dreaming is lofty mountains, shrouded by mist in the autumn mornings. Dreaming is the dawn, when the sky turns into an artist’s palette and the birds sing in the trees. Dreaming is laying on the hard city concrete, bleeding from the new wounds and wondering where you went wrong. Dreaming is turning away form the sun and the millions of watching eyes. Dreaming is knowing someone’s name when you haven’t met yet. Dreaming is an old stone archway, still standing after a thousand years. Dreaming is smoothing out the pages of a well-worn book and smelling its leather cover in the gilded hum of a summer afternoon. Dreaming is watching the snow fall, and wondering if you are as unique as the formations of ice crystals that fall from the sky.
Since this was a collaborative piece, I then passed this prose poem on to the man sitting next to me (who happened to be my usual professor). Since it’s not my work, I won’t include it here. Still, it was an interesting experience.