Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Our household is trapped in the summer doldrums of daily thunderstorms, bionic lawn growth, a broken dryer, and towels that never, ever dry. Nonetheless, life is pleasant. One boy is eating a dozen plums and shouting out thoughts about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The other is writing a "very American noir" screenplay and frying eggs. I am kneading bread, giving one boy the backstory of Mary-Percy-Harriet-Clair-Byron-Wollstonecraft-Godwin, asking the other, "What does 'very American noir' mean?," wondering if we're out of coffee and who's going to drive Boy 2 to his piano lesson, and meanwhile I've been reading straight through the collected poems of Jane Kenyon and realizing that our subject matters completely overlap yet our themes and tones and moods are entirely different.

Partly it's the present clutter of my life that has made me realize that many of her poems center on only one or two characters. They are spacious, even when they are tiny. Her poem "The Sandy Hole" is a four-line version of Frost's "Home Burial."  Four lines. I was overwhelmed.


Because Carlene, at least, seems interested in my college-essay prompts, here's the assignment I gave my son yesterday.

College Essay Exercise #2

1. Using your list of starred words as prompts, write 5 sentences that focus primarily on the story of the event.

2. Using your list of circled words as prompts, write 5 sentences that focus primarily on your own reactions, feelings, experiences during and after the event.

The sentences do not need to connect logically, nor do the two parts of the exercise need to be linked. Your goal is simply to start expanding your initial word impulses into more detailed sentences.


Today's prompt will probably lead him into building a narrative structure for his forthcoming first draft.

1 comment:

Carlene said...

Huzzah! Thanks for the next step in essay building!

And omg, isn't Sandy Hole a total emotional avalanche? I do that one every semester as a dictated poem, and I often pair it with Seamus Heaney's Midterm Break. Painful poems. Very spare.