It’s the Truth: Tuesday Tryouts

18 Sep

8:13 a.m. — Atlanta

Hullo! I almost didn’t get here. Got distracted by Elizabeth’s song choices for this week’s Musical Notes challenge. She has ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City and ‘Under African Skies’ by Paul Simon. I love the pairing. I am now listening to ‘Johnny Cope’ by The Corries.

To communicate truths, which is what poetry does, we need to be able to tap into our memories. This seems a given, but what if you want to convey something where the speaker needs to feel an emotion foreign to you, say anger? As adults we learn to repress, or find outlets for, strong emotions. Children have no sort of clamp until their parents and societal expectations put paid to abandoned expression.

I want you to find those moments of abandoned expression, of feeling something to the core, whether it be an emotion, an image, an event, or a place. What is your most powerful memory in each of these four categories, a memory that will never abandon you? Write each memory down and jot as many sensory details as you can. If you need to, make them up [the details, not the memories]. I know, ironic, when we are talking truths.

Your options are several fold. You should have at least four memories, unless some of the categories dovetail. You may, if you are like me, have more than four, [I list while I think]. You can choose one and recreate the moment. If the moment itself conveys a truth, let’s see if you can show us through the retelling, even if you have to tweak the memory to make it work for the poem.

You can take one of the memories and use it to convey a truth about something today. Here, you won’t recount the memory, but will use elements of it to feed your poem. If you want, include process notes with this, letting us know how you took the elements of the memory and used them for something else.

You might notice a thread among the memories and decide to write something that links the four [or two, or three].

You may wish to write four short, separate poems [or two, or three].

Remember that this is about using the memories, not the memories themselves. Play, write, post. Don’t worry if it’s messy. That’s what this is for. I look forward to reading what comes in.

I shall see you Thursday for a couple of links and a discussion opener; Friday for this week’s roundup; and next Tuesday for a prompt on your inner child.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 18/09/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

34 responses to “It’s the Truth: Tuesday Tryouts

  1. JulesPaige

    18/09/2012 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for reminding me about Elizabeth’s Musical Notes…I’ve got that under my belt – so to speak…you’ll have to wait for Thursday for that. You’ve popped two memories up front quickly…I shall have to play with them… Thanks.

    • margo roby

      18/09/2012 at 10:20 am

      Morning, Jules! I figured it wouldn’t hurt to do a little cheering for the site! I’ve got mine, too. And, I actually have something for We Write Poems!

  2. carolisle

    18/09/2012 at 1:50 pm

    I wasn’t going to post anything today…too much to do…like making soup for our writing teacher who is under the weather…but your prompt reminded me of something from my archive so I hope you don’t mind i didn’t take the time but I have I have to chop endive πŸ˜‰ and mushrooms-gotta run!

    • margo roby

      19/09/2012 at 9:22 am

      Carolisle, I’m glad you dropped in, even for a moment. I love making soup and the weather is turning!

  3. carolisle

    18/09/2012 at 1:51 pm

    Oh and thanks for all you work

  4. vivinfrance

    18/09/2012 at 4:36 pm

    Margo this is a lovely prompt, and I’ve loads of ideas, but no time. I shall keep this one for when the flood of guests have gone and I can take time to write properly.

  5. barbara_

    18/09/2012 at 4:39 pm

    Funny, I was finishing my WWP for this week, and it could almost stand for this but I’m going to catch my breath, and then try with this in mind.

    • margo roby

      19/09/2012 at 9:41 am

      I’m not going anywhere. Catch your breath.

  6. 1sojournal

    18/09/2012 at 5:27 pm

    Margo, have been meaning to join you here but get lost in other things. But, this time your prompt and WWP prompt came together and allowed me to finish something that got started over twenty years ago. It’s not exactly to your prompt, but your prompt helped me finish. Thank you,


  7. margo roby

    19/09/2012 at 9:25 am

    Elizabeth, I know how it goes. I’m glad to see you whenever you are able to come by. I love that you were finally able to complete a poem. I have a couple I have been carrying around waiting for something to gel. I’ll see you tomorrow, at your place.


  8. barbara_

    19/09/2012 at 11:47 am

    Okay. It doesn’t quite do what I wanted, but I think the idea is sound. What do you think? Password is: submit

    • margo roby

      20/09/2012 at 7:34 am

      I’m falling behind! I’ll be over in a bit, Barbara.

  9. purplepeninportland

    19/09/2012 at 4:05 pm

    This prompt brought back good and bad memories, but one happy one stood out and raised its hand. Mine is up.

    • margo roby

      20/09/2012 at 7:37 am

      That is the problem with sorting back through, isn’t it, Sara? I’ll be right over.

  10. PJF Sayers

    19/09/2012 at 7:57 pm

    Love this prompt, Margo (I usually say that, don’t I?), this one I am actually working on, I just started it today. Which means it might be ready this year πŸ™‚


    • margo roby

      20/09/2012 at 7:38 am

      That’s okay, Pamela! I do the same over at Joseph’s πŸ™‚ I have many started poems that I will get to… eventually!


  11. Hannah Gosselin

    19/09/2012 at 10:38 pm

    Hello my friend! I’m so glad I figured out what to write…I was nervously wordless for a moment. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks a bunch. πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      20/09/2012 at 7:40 am

      Hello there! Wordless? Enh… momentary πŸ™‚ I’m on my way to read. So good to see you.

    • margo roby

      22/09/2012 at 1:23 pm

      Lovely to see you, annell. I’m heading over.

  12. PJF Sayers

    25/09/2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Margo, I actually completed this last night. It is only one memory, but I remember it like it were yesterday. Funny how that happens. Thanks for the prompt and all you do.


    “Eight Crayons in a Box”

  13. Yousei Hime

    04/10/2012 at 3:59 pm

    Working through some of the prompts I’ve saved. Finally got to this one. Hope you like it.

    • margo roby

      04/10/2012 at 4:02 pm

      Laughing. I found them before you posted here, as you will see from my comment. I do like them, Yousei. They are unusual and I enjoyed reading and working through them.

      • Yousei Hime

        04/10/2012 at 4:12 pm

        I should probably put more comprehensible detail in them, making them more accessible to readers and less cryptic. I usually start out writing like some prophetic oracle who doesn’t want anyone to get it. I’m trying to get away from that. I don’t like it poetry I read, so I really do not understand why I do it. Weirdo, undeniably. πŸ˜‰

        • margo roby

          05/10/2012 at 7:21 am

          So long as you are aware that your poetry may be accessible only to you, then write what you need to write. Writing for audience can come later πŸ™‚


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