Lovetodeviate's Workshop: I, Me, Myself

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13th March 2008

This workshop is now CLOSED. All entries are at the end of this journal. As always, we encourage you to critique each other, and those of you who did not participate should try offering critique as well, to be involved if not anything else. There are 29 entries in total, one of our biggest ever!


2nd March 2008

lovetodeviate’s Workshop: I, Me, Myself

:iconlovetodeviate: If the pointed hat doesn’t make it obvious, lovetodeviate is one of the new literature GDs on deviantArt. Alongside this, she is also the co-admin of Writers-Workshop, and studying her undergraduate in literature, media and psychology- a very busy lady! lovetodeviate has also had her writing published in several literary magazines including Umbrella, Fuselit and the roundtable review.</u>

I, Me, Myself

Write about yourself--that is the gist of it.

Since this is a free-for-all workshop, there are two very different sets of instructions for prose and poetry. You can send in one house poem or one futuristic diary entry or both.

:star:HOUSE POEMS:star:

First off, sorry to disappoint anyone who thinks I want an epic poem on Dr House (but I wouldn't mind reading one outside of the workshop).

The purpose of house poem is to evoke a closed space. In this sense, "house poem" is a misnomer, because you don't have to restrict yourself only to houses/apartments; you can write about an office space, a place of religious worship, a monument, even a trash can, provided you are inside it. There have been many, many poems about houses from the outside (good ones, even) or through the distance of memory. But I would like you (or your poetic persona) to be inside the space you have chosen; this persona can even be describing what is outside (a garden, traffic, fields), but from the point of view of someone who is inside.

What do I mean by "evoke"? According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, one of the meanings of "evoke" is "to re-create imaginatively". Let's stick with this definition. Instead of describing painstakingly everything in the space chosen ("There is a mahogany desk to the right, with a lamp on it. On one side there is a bay window; on the other...."), try to create interesting images of the space, using metaphors, similes, personification and other poetic devices. In short, don't be boring.

The best way to evoke a space is through imagery. You can use different kinds of images using all the senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Not necessarily all, but a few. Let's look at a few examples:

:bulletblue: "At the ends of the corridors the baths are running. / Mrs. C. again feels the shadow of the obsessive idea. / Miss R. looks at the mantel-piece, which must mean something." - Evening in the Sanitarium, Louise Bogan

The poem describes a sanitarium for mentally ill women. In these particular lines, we get a sense of sound coming from a little away, showing us that there are corridors and a large amount of space surrounding the women, but also it describes what is happening in Mrs. C.'s and Mrs. R.'s minds -- something in the periphery is nagging them and bringing back the full force of their insanity. I recommend reading the whole poem because Bogan describes objects/furniture in such a way that it says a lot about the human beings who live in the sanitarium.

:bulletblue: "It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! [...] But there is something else about that paper--the smell! [...] A yellow smell." - The Yellow Wallpaper</b>, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This is actually a short story, but I thought the use of synaesthesia would be a good example. Synaesthesia is basically a mixing of senses ("A yellow smell"). Some are lucky (or, unlucky) enough to have this as a biological condition in which certain alphabets appear in particular colours or certain words have distinct flavours, but you can use this as a poetic device for description.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, writing about the places we inhabit often reveals things about us, about the way we view the world. In The Yellow Wallpaper, for example, the narrator is obsessed with the wallpaper in her room and sees all kinds of gory things in it, like a trapped woman and chopped-off heads. Through these descriptions, we realise that not only is the narrator extremely imaginative, but also has some kind of mental illness.

In the article, Poems about the Home, it is written, "In the 1965 collection About the House by W. H. Auden, the home becomes an extension of the self." This is something you can try to achieve in your house poem. I recommend reading this article as well as the texts linked above to get a feel for the kind of writing I want to read. Another poem written in this vein is Dignity in the Home by Betsy Brown, where the action moves from within the home to the outside.

I've used two examples of mentally ill people, but please don't think that's what house poems are all about! Feel free to approach this anyway you like. You can write it in first, second or third person narrative. You can write about an imaginary place or a real one. You can spend some time in the space you want to write about or you can draw architectural plans of an imaginary house for yourself, if that helps.

A few questions to ask of yourself while writing/editing this piece: Are you alone in this space? If not, who is with you? Are they strangers or people you know? What kind of objects surround you? Do you have a purpose in this space (work, living, stealing, writing, etc)? Do you own the space? Is it the first time you've been here? What is going through your mind: are you frightened, happy, peaceful, confused, etc?

This is quite a long write-up, so let me summarise what I'd like you to do:

:pointr: Pick a closed space that you want to write about. Make sure you/the narrator/the protagonist is/are inside this space.
:pointr: Try to evoke the space using imagery and other poetic devices so that the reader can form a mental picture.
:pointr: Drop subtle hints about yourself/the narrator/the protagonist through this process. Or if you want to leave us guessing, that's also okay.

Line limit: 30

:star:FUTURISTIC DIARY ENTRY:star:

Write a diary entry as yourself several years older--let's say, at least ten years older than you are now. Placing yourself in the future is critical to the piece.

Most should be familiar with the diary writing format; if not, feel free to note me (lovetodeviate) with queries. A salutation is not necessary, but please include a date (for example: 15 December 2007, 02/05/2061, etc) so that we know exactly when in the future you are.

This task will require a good deal of imagination, especially if you do not yet have your own family or a set career. No nostalgia, please -- I will consider it a dreadful cop out. If you are writing in, say, 2018, you may need to refer to something that happened in, say, 2005 -- this is acceptable. But do not pontificate about your youth. This is what people often do in real life diaries, but here, if you write only about real things that have happened to you in 2008 or earlier, where's the imagination in that?

Consider making notes about your life in the future before you begin writing; think about what you do, where you live and who with, what your financial situation is, etc -- even if these details do not appear in your diary entry, they will help you understand your character (who is, in many ways, different from your present self). This step is not necessary, however.

You may also want to describe the world you live in; sci-fi elements may come creeping in. This is perfectly all right, but keep in mind that the diary is about you and not about how Deckard needs to kill replicants. Also: your future self cannot be dead while writing the entry, although s/he can be dying/waiting to die.

Word limit: 1000 or thereabouts

Have fun writing! I hope this is challenging enough, but not difficult. If you have any doubts, you can note Writers-Workshop or me, and I'll try to help as much as possible. I've tried both exercises myself, so I'm confident you can do it too. Good luck! :)

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your poem. Include the subject line "I ME MYSELF" in your note. The deadline is midnight March 12th, 2008. All times are set for GMT. lovetodeviate will respond to the entries on March 16th, 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop Please note that this is a Free for all workshop, meaning that we will accept both poetry and prose entries. Proofread your work before you send it in so that grammatical and spelling errors are minimal. And most of all, have fun with it!

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue:Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue:If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue:If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue:In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.


:star: Don't forget to love our News Article!


The Entries

Personify Me By Amy-Louise
Entrapt By AstarteKatz
House Poem By batousaijin
Pool By bekkia
Life Cycles By JessaMar
Journal from a Future Self By cairnthecrow
I Me Myself By conspiredfate
Closeted By daowns
Trash Can By darksouldream
Break By Elmara
Elvis is Close Enough By Erin88
My Rolling Coffin By fense
A Day in the Life By GaioumonBatou
The Kitchenette By GeneratingHype
Facing It By illuminara
Someday? By ImmortalEcstasyDream
11-45 PM By itzjusdrama
Panic at the Student Union By JoieD
I Am Not Alone By kittyfantastic24
For the Love of Emma By LadyLincoln
Furturistic Journal Entry By mindylu32
Futuristic Journal Entry By PrincessMelissa83
Ten Years On- 2018 By samjaymc
Stained Wood By scottish-gardeners
Exaggeration of a Biography By Staraya
House Cleaning By tmpst24myst
Ceramic Wolves By ViciousCabaret
21 November 2018 By wordworks
My Bedroom By xCamix

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GaioumonBatou's avatar
~cairnthecrow seems to have deleted his entry. :\