Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One Brick (100x17)

One Brick at a Time

I. Axioms

Brick. Thick. Block. Chunk. Blink. Black. Blank. Stuck. Flunk. Quick. Drank.
Trick. Prank. Brink. Wreck. Clock. Stick. Stink. Flank. Fleck. Flunk. Click.
Stuck. Stack. Crack. Crock. Clank. Chink. Drink. Drunk. Plink. Pluck. Smack.
Prick. Plank. Prank. Plunk. Crank. Trunk. Thank. Quack. Cluck. Clunk. Stark.
Stock. Wrack. Flick. Flack. Flock. Track. Truck. Whack. Think. Spank. Snack.
Spunk. Shank. Shack. Slick. Slack. Frank. Shock. Shuck. Slink. Skunk. Snuck.

II. Derivations

Brick, Black: Thick Block. Chunk.

Think. Blink. Blank. Stuck.

Quick trick: Prank.

Trunk. Whack. Clunk. Clank. Plank. Stack. Stock.

Frank snuck drink. Stank. Truck, slick. Brink. Blink. Wreck.

Process Reflection: This started as a belated attempt to follow up on my idea from Monday’s post about playing with something along the lines of “Silent Poem” by Robert Francis. I was correcting papers tonight and a student had written an essay about a breakthrough moment in his writing when he realized his topic was too large. When he narrowed his focus, he was able to write easily. Which got me thinking about the well-known passage in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where Pirsig recounts an early teaching experience where he advises a student with writer’s block to forget about writing about her town or even a street or a building, and about one brick in the building. I wanted to find the passage, and wound up googling “pirsig one brick.” That took me on a lot of interesting detours (I eventually found the passage), many of which involved the phrase “one brick at a time,” and so when I sat down shortly thereafter to write, the seed had been planted in my mind. I just started with “brick” and began free-associating words, with the ideas of coming up with a wall of words a la Francis, and pretty soon had agreed with myself on the implicit rules: one-syllable five-letter words that ended in either “ck” or “nk.” So that was entertaining. While I was working on that another part of my brain started looking for combinations, and so I began playing the derivation game down below, and then working both ends in the effort to build up to 100 words total. After an hour’s worth of fiddling about, I came in just over at 103, and decided that was enough for today.

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