Fall Writing Exercise Series #51: Ekphrastic Anonymity

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 Anonymity

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 "Where No One Knows Our Names" by artist Tim Murray. Here's a place to buy his prints. I get a sortfuturistic Roy Lichtenstein from his work, especially District Dark.

If nothing right off strikes you try the following exercises along with the image. There are many nice details about this image. Notice the multiple empty 'beer' cans and the man's recently cut face bearing a fresh bandage, the star tattoo. Multiple humongous advertisements, there are numerous stickers/decals on the speeder bike and a series of repeated pyramid-shaped buildings in the distance topped with gigantic satellite dishes.
  1.  Tell us the story of the previous two hours where the man got that cut and subsequent bandage—leading to this image, and then one more scene. Was it a gang fight, bar brawl, falling scaffolding, attack alien pitbull defending the junkyard where he'd broken into to steal parts for his racer....
  2. These young lovers are a pair of professional thieves waiting for their mark/their employer to contact them with information. Give us a short scene to get to know these two then send us on an adventure including a high speed chase on their speeder and one of those huge advertisements being destroyed.
  3. The characters that are the main focus are all green, however the faces in the advertisements are all red. In this world there is a division between two races which are green and red and there is a cultural/caste divide. Show us an evening with these green folk navigating the futuristic alien city.
  4. The couple is spending one last night in the city before they board a ship and leave the planet. Where are they going and why? What do they do during their last night there? Are they both leaving or only one? Bring us all the way to the departure.


If you'd like background writing music try the album Kings of Ska by the Skatalites.