Writing Prompt: Poemcrazy

51-1qMAw6EL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I REACH FOR SUSAN GOLDSMITH WOOLDRIDGE’S POEMCRAZY whenever I need a dose of creative encouragement. Wooldridge invites such playful abandon with words, it would be a stiff upper lip indeed that didn’t curve reading her!

In “The Answer Squash,” Wooldridge talks about labeling objects in her home with word tickets. A squash in its basket bears the label answers, and a worn scrub brush at the sink, diamonds. Like all innovative use of language, these labels make one rethink the objects to which they are attached—see them in a new light.

And “new names seem to change people,” too, Wooldridge says, offering us a chance to reconsider our identities using randomly chosen word tickets. In “Our Real Names,” Ronnie, a young man doing time in juvenile hall renames himself thus:

Let’s talk about death.
Yesterday my name was James.
Today, it’s tossing helium dream.
Tomorrow, my name will be
Gerald Flying off the Cliff,
Dave Mustang.
Inside my name is
dying heart,
and a lotta hope.

Writing Prompt

Try it yourself! Make a batch of scrap-paper labels and affix them, willy-nilly, or with poetic precision, on items around your abode. Take a break for a cup of tea, then wander up to one the newly-christened items and find some writing inspiration in the quirky tension between the object and its moniker.

Alternatively (or additionally), add a word ticket to your mirror. How does what the word say alter how you see yourself? Start writing to find out!

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