2020 Writing Exercise Series #30: Ekphrastic Protesting Umbrellas 4

The Notebooking Daily 2020 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 Protesting Umbrellas 4

Photo by Joseph Chan

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 this photo by Joseph Chan from the Hong Kong protest at the end of 2019.

If nothing right off strikes you try the following exercises along with the image.
  1. Imagine yourself the graffiti artist in this protest and feeling the desperation to spray paint the phrase "Kill Me or FREE ME" on this barrier. Include umbrellas, and at least one clash of some sort with the police.
  2. Imagine this is a protest somewhere back in the 1920s. The image might look somewhat the same as umbrellas may have been even more popular then. During the protest (what's it about?) you snuck a can of paint and a brush and have begun painting messages all around during the unrest/tumult. What do you write?
  3. Umbrellas in the Hong Kong protests have been used for many purposes. Write a piece which includes at least three of the uses outlined in this article.

If you'd like background writing music try Johannes Brahms' 21 Hungarian dances.