Fall Writing Exercise Series #6: Ekphrastic Baggage

The Notebooking Daily Fall Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

Ekphrastic Baggage

For today, we're going to write a poem or prose piece inspired by another piece of art or an ekphrastic piece. The piece of art in question is the following image by artist Asher ReTech.

If nothing right off strikes you try the following exercises along with the image.

  1.  What caused the tear in the corner of the suitcase? Write that narrative in under 100 words.
  2.  Write three sentences that include something in the image and the phrase "thirteen foot fall", one being no more than seven words total.
  3.  Who owned this suitcase? Has it been resold? Write a paragraph/stanza that tells the transaction history of the suitcase.
  4.  Write a list of at least eight places that the suitcase has been, be specific including proper names and places.
  5.  Write three sentences about the luggage owner's experience on at least three of the places listed in #4.
  6.  Colorize the image (describe the image imagining it in color).
  7.  Pick your three favorite details from #6 and write a short poem or prose vignette about the suitcase surviving an explosion using those details within the narrative.

This ekphrastic exercise has an even better bonus than normal. It is the September Ekphrastic Contest over at the fantastic journal Rattle. If you can wrangle a piece you're proud of send it their way! The deadline is September 30th and it's free to submit your poem (no prose, sorry fictioneers).


If you'd like background writing music try the album "From Paris with Love" by the Skatalites.