Our poetry and fiction class assignment this week is to tell “a story without any of the usual narrative devices of linear plot or character development.” In other words, as I understand it, to use sentence fragments, from which the reader will make their own connections to form the work into a coherent whole. Hmm.
I usually write a story from beginning to end. I’m lost here where the story doesn’t have to proceed in the usual chronological order. The poem we are modeling seems to be a “slice of life” profile in which you observe, without pulling in narrative or dialog.
We’re to emulate the poem, “Whole House Gone to Hell” by Cynthia Huntington. Some stanzas:
The mother who will not come down from her bed.
Television flickering across channels at odd hours:
the late movie, the news show at dawn, the all-night
mystery station. Milk gone sour in the refrigerator,
the daughter stumbling out of the backseat of a car,
hair in her eyes, her skirt wrinkled up at her hips.
The son sneaking out of the house to close a deal.
No one talks on the phone without shutting the door.
The rooms smell of smoke, yellow rot of nicotine.
I know what I want to write about, l have material clearly in mind, but I can’t seem to format things correctly. Deadline is in three days and the length is a single page, single page. I go about other work, awaiting inspiration. Hmm.
More about the course here (internal link)