Our Latest Assignment

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)

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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