Writing Prompts…..Useful or Not?

I have spoken of the usefulness of prompts when teaching/mentoring writing workshops. I do find them to be of value much of the time.  Personally, I hate prompts. I just go blank and write something else, if I can think of anything.  Otherwise, I doodle discreetly, I hope.  I am not a writer who can write under pressure.  I could never be a journalist, for example.   All that being said, I have attended writers workshops led by relatively well-known writers, often poets, often based at Pitt or Carnegie Mellon, but often visiting poets and writers. And on a few occasions I eventually will produce a piece I really love after I take it home and play with it over time.

Very,  very rarely one will actually come out entire by the end of a workshop.  Maybe I’ll post one in conjunction with writing and prompts.  The prompt was the use of verb tense and specific structure.  When I shared, there was a rather stunned silence.  You would understand if you were there.  Or perhaps when you read it.  It was one of those bizarre days of alignment of emotion, purpose, and means.  It’s titled Go Out, Dark.

As always, if there are any teachers or workshop people out there who would like to try that prompt, I can look for my notes from that workshop.  I forget the poet’s name, and she’s a good workshop leader, as well as good poet.

By the way, the poem I’m posting next is not typical of the resulting poems.  Most were uplifting, I think.  Or maybe not. : )    btw, I also hate emoticons, but sometimes my sense of humor is so out there that I feel I must have a way of saying “Just kidding!” on the page.  Picture freaking smiley face here.


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