Wednesday, October 10, 2012

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #11 - Write What You Must Write.....

"Writing a poem is discovering." Robert Frost

It’s been a rough couple days for me.

You know, those days when you say, “Nothing worse can happen, right?”
I sang “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar at karaoke and even that didn’t help my demeanor. I did nail the song, though, or so I was told.

It got ugly, especially ugly, after I had a meeting with a man who is putting together a group of local writers who are creating five minute monologues to mirror the style of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros which is the current selection for One Book, One Bakersfield.

It took a lot to write those monologues. The funny one was easier than the serious one, but neither topics are ones I regularly speak about. The serious one I have never, ever spoken about aloud to anyone. And now, in yet another brilliant, pushing my own envelope move, I will be performing these monologues aloud in only a few weeks.

So now at least 100 more people here in Bakersfield will know.  

What the hell have I done?

Why did I write them?

Three reasons:

I had a context.

I had an opportunity.

I had to get the words on the page so they would stop eating me from the inside.
I had write it, I had to speak it, I had to say what was unthinkable to say. I simply had to - it felt like there was no choice.

There are all sorts of topics we declare unsayable, things that may make others squirm or blush or turn away or gasp.

These topics make the most powerful art, the most potent poetry, create the most important conversations.

Like LeConte Stewart said, "Art exists so that we may say the unsayable. Art is always a matter of caring, of being moved. Unless we care, ideas of value are not apt to come, and so far as painting goes, the painter must care. He must be moved by what he is trying to paint." 

To make it applicable to us as poets, try it like this.

“As far as poetry goes, the poet must care. She must be moved by the poem she is trying to write.”

Tonight’s prompt is going to be offered in two levels.

Depending on the feedback and who feels comfortable diving this deep only ten days in, I will post a reminder in one of my prompts for those who care to start more slowly.

Take a few moments in silence when you are done reading my words. Leave your mind open to what you have resisted writing because it makes you sweat or it makes you worried your Mom will get mad or it makes you apologize to your kids before the words have even left your pencil.

Then use that energy to write your poem.

You may either write about your resistance to writing this or write about whatever it is that needs to be said, needs to be told, needs to be spoken.

If you are up to it, challenge yourself.

One Word Prompt: Resist

Sentence Starter: I am not going to resist saying ________ anymore


Today I declare a truce with resistance….

You may find inspiration in the Road Closed photo above or in the video below.... just please, simply write your words. Share them with someone somewhere.

OR, as always, choose your own topic

I hope before you take your few moments in silence you will watch this video of Katie Makkai performing her poem “Pretty.” It is a moving performance and one I am sure many of us will understand, at least on some level.

Your written words give you power. Who knows, they may help give someone else power, too.

A side note: I am going to bed without adding the linky for today. I am so sorry, but I don't have the code and I need, need, need, need to sleep. Please trust it will be put here as early in the day as possible. In the meantime, post your links in the comment section.

With Much Love,



  1. Oh boy am I feeling resistance. I will sleep on this and begin working on this poem tomorrow. Thank you Julie.

  2. This is scary. I can't help but worry what others will think, but I trust that my words may speak to someone's heart as they speak to mine.

    1. I know that it can be scary to speak into the truth of our being, but we all come out the better for it. I am glad you found the courage to share yours.