One of the most useful lessons I learnt on the writing retreat was to use all sorts of ridiculous rules and constraints to exercise the poetic brain. It’s like using an elastic band to exercise your muscles, making them stretch just a little further than they might normally do. Here are some examples:
Flashes of remembrance
your friendly pings
your bossy tone
sole guide and friend on country lanes
until you die
Cinquain – 2-4-6-8-2 syllable lines
Nests are feathered,
Twiglets picked, earth clods primed,
with hasty visitors in mind.
Weighing, counting, tasting…
Beat and simmer, don’t stir and pour…
Invent a list of ten words and give them to the next person to write a short text with it (a poem, prose, textbook, whatever the words inspire). Here is my text, see if you can spot the made-up words.
The plupracy had already decided to sputify all private property. First, they demoked the fusils (Mairstone, 2082: pp.15-16), but, when this took far longer than expected, they had to add propylate to the mix. The late-Nematic propylate, however, was full of brimstone (Johnson, 2011; Rheinhart, 2059), so the olzeous metaphycitate they had in their makeshift laboratories exploded. The sputified masses tried to caffer, but it was too late. Contemporary eye-witnesses agree that the instare was complete and irrevocable (Mairstone, 2082: pg. 562).