Writing By Subtraction

In my ongoing goal to set aside some time each week for developing my writing, I took last Wednesday evening to experiment with something about which I have just learned. My high school English teacher often told us that words are like light, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. Poetry is, ideally, words condensed to their most potent form and being a wordy, wordy, gal, I have thus been a very poor poet. I discovered NewsPaper Blackout poetry on Pinterest (of course) and when my well loved copy of the Chronicles of Narnia (bound in a single volume) literally fell apart on my mackerdoodle’s head, I thought maybe I would give it a go.

The first few attempts were pretty bad. It is difficult to look at words individually instead of the context in which they are found on the page. So I don’t really know what this one is supposed to mean, but it sounds poetical . . . sort of.

around one heart a jagged path turned the beating into excitement

around one heart a jagged path turned the beating into excitement

This one is strange, and a little creepy, but better from a technical perspective.

when you disappeared the stranger popped its head out We're not safe We're afraid

when you disappeared the stranger popped its head out We’re not safe We’re afraid

I think this one was my best, but it made me so very sad that I just couldn’t let it be the last one I did:

there was a girl a boy and a girl like us the girl the boy I can't remember Trying to remember

there was a girl a boy and a girl like us the girl the boy I can’t remember Trying to remember

So this was the last of my effort, and it is far better than the first attempt:

the wind sank into silence and tickled a dream a lovely lovely dream and a sensation of music under the open sky

the wind sank into silence and tickled a dream a lovely lovely dream and a sensation of music under the open sky

It was an interesting challenge, and I think I will go back to it periodically as a reminder of the power of condensed words. If you give it a shot, I would love to see what you come up with, and hear how you felt about it.

 

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About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

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