Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alphanumerics (100x10)


One: Finger. Moon. Obelisk. The self in isolation.
Two: Victory. Peace. The self in the mirror. Horns. Love.
Three: A pitchfork. A stool. The Letter W. A crowd.
Four: Picket fence. Sturdy chair or table. Hair standing on end.
Five: A Handful. Greetings. Kindergarten turkey. Stop!
Six: Two hands now. Old enough to know better. Cousin of G.
Seven: Adze. Reason. In group, out group. Imbalance. Luck.
Eight: Open and shut. Snowman. Two by four. Enough. Infinity.
Nine: Perfect square. Tic-tac-toe. Oddness. The end of the line.
Ten: On and off. Skinny and fat. Personal Best. Starting Over.

Process Reflection: Just a game. I started with the idea of the sequence of numbers from one to ten, perhaps because this is the tenth post in the current series. I started by looking at my fingers and trying to think analogically, and then broke out sideways from there, thinking about the shape of the number, the contexts in which it appears, its associations. Most of which I could only gesture at, given the phrase-based format I fell into and decided to stay with. By then end of my first runthrough I had about 50 words, and the need to get to a hundred kept me inside the sandbox for a while, adding, tinkering. There are a lot of better examples of this sort of thing out there, like “Bestiary for the Fingers of My Right Hand” from our current poet laureate Charles Simic which can be found here if you’re interested.

The 100-word constraint is interesting. In some cases, like yesterday, it's quite hard to pare down what I want to say to meet the limit. In other cases, like this one, the need to push up to 100 words opens up new territory and winds up changing the original look and feel of the writing.

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