Have you ever seen the FUJI commercial touting the ideal that “art is everywhere” while they take “snapshots” of parking lots? Parking Lots. Art. An oddly appropriate juxtaposition. It is even more odd when you consider that a commercial vehicle has provided the world with such a poignant, philosophical insight. Think NIKE’s Just Do It! campaign and you can see that money can infrequently drive intellect.
With writing, often a “snapshot” of an entire text will expose the “art is everywhere” mantra promoted by the likes of FUJI (although the sentiment has probably been expressed “freely” since humans could comprehend and conceive art). While reading is often engrossing and provoking, it can also be boring and time-consuming. But looking for “the art” in even the most boring text can keep your mind entertained and active; looking for the “art” in your own writing will help you transform ‘boring’ writing into entertaining and provoking writing.
The following are a mix of “garbage” words, phrases and excerpts – snapshots - from a variety of non-fiction texts (that are not boring) that “I” have determined to be ‘arty and spicy’.
- forge a brand new identity
- harbingers of dangerous cultural dilution
- mixed couples may be in vogue
- deconstruct your face
- surgically effeminized
- who respond to an “echo” of their face
- we watch open-air vendors in faded newsboy caps peddle fruit and vegetables like characters in a Dicken’s novel
- jolts to life
- even being unique has become commodified
- finical figure
- delicate blend of invigoration and trauma
- sartorial situation
- brutal rat trap
- like an optical riptide
- luscious yet unbearably murderous
- the girl you lost to heroin
- diabolical nor divine
- spastic stupor
- saccharine (not the sweetener for coffee)
- insatiable ego
- darkly laughing
- hidden quirks
- randomness is addictive
- kinky buttons
- irreverent deconstructionist
- cartoonishly insidious
- rendezvous with madness
- marginality is sexy again
Post the list you have created (word:words:word squared:word infinite journal activity and the Deconstruct Non-Fiction word and figurative expression lists).
Consult the “garbage” that your co-writers have posted. Write down a minimum of 10 spicy word/expressions/quotes from a variety of lists. Use a minimum of 11 (including one from my garbage) of the “snapshots” to write a short non-fictionalized piece. You can write an Opinion (on a media product, a current event/issue), a Personality-Sketch/Profile (of a real/interesting person), a Travelogue, an Event Summary or any other creative non-fictionalized idea. Basically anything that is ‘true’. Add your own art to the ‘garbage’ art. Spice it up. Play with sentence lengths and types to make your writing more art than data.
Edit and revise. Use the “rules” that you have unearthed during your deconstructing activities (i.e. incorporate sentence length percentages, paragraph lengths).
Bring your FIRST DRAFT into class. Workshop it (let other writers read and critique your work). If you prefer to remain anonymous during this process, write a pseudonym that you only know.
Edit and revise. Use the “rules” that you have unearthed during your deconstructing activities (i.e. incorporate sentence length percentages, paragraph lengths) and the critiques from the workshop sessions to improve your FINAL DRAFT.
Add an image to add a professional bent to your piece. Hand in a hardcopy of the piece. Bold or italicize the snapshots you have used.
Hand-in your Deconstruction of Non-Fiction worksheets. Make sure that the conclusion is clearly articulated.
You may have heard the word ‘guerilla’ associated with a tactical type of warfare; a type of warfare where small groups of soldiers/troops use ‘unconventional’ tactics to subvert and attack larger armies. The key words in the previous sentence are ‘subvert + attack’ because the focus of guerilla poetry is to ‘subvert + attack’ the ‘conventional’ means of publishing (larger corporate publishing companies with profit driven agendas) by publishing (root word: public) unconventionally. It’s twisted. It’s confusing, but it’s fresh and very punk.
Guerilla can be dropped in front of almost any art form - guerilla music, guerilla writing, guerilla painting – with the related connotation that the art form is intended to subvert + attack. But the Big Publishing Companies will ask the inevitable greedy questions: Is graffiti art? Is tagging art? Is postering art? Are the art-forms just excuses to vandalize? Or tantalize? Or symbolize? They just want you to keep purchasing the conventional way and make you feel guilty about supporting guerilla tactics. Don’t listen to them (but don’t spray paint unless you get verbal permission from the owner. You will have to pay).
The debate will rage. And we are going to join it.
As a group of ‘crafty’ citizens we are going to mimic and adapt this “punkish” publishing ethic. We are going to be a group of guerilla poets and ‘attack’ our “corporate” environment with words. Poetic words. Poignant words. Pithy words.
Craft a short poem that uses your new found appreciation for the sound and style of words. Follow the TIPS for writing poetry to guide you.
THE CONTENT: we want to ‘attack and expand’ the minds of our community, but as we know, our educational community is often reluctant to look at just words on a page, so we are going to blend text, visuals and a product to attract attention. The content of the poem is essentially up to you, but make sure that it is meaningful. Now you may be asking, what is meaningful poetry? Agreed. It is rather a subjective concept, so let’s just say that the poem you write should be some combination of socially-conscious-educational-obscure-thought-provoking-weird-enlightening. Sound easy? Good.
THE LANGUAGE: besides being brilliant, the language should contain absolutely NO SWEARING, OBSCENITIES, HATEFUL REMARKS (RACIST/SEXIST/ HOMOPHOBIC/ETHNIC SLURS) OR PERSONAL RANTS/ATTACKS. Now that the restrictions are in place, you are pretty much free to use the language that best suits the tone/content of your poem. Sorry, again, there are a couple of stipulations:
use language that has ‘sound’
use language that is ‘fresh’
use original + raw figurative expressions (see lists)
use an authentic voice over a sentimental voice