Inspiration is Everywhere

Have you ever felt like there was nothing inspiring to write about? I have too. But not lately! This gig as the Racine Writer-in-Residence just keeps getting better and better. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and feel like I’m really getting into a groove. Today, I’d like to invite you to groove with me. There is so much inspiration surrounding me here at 409 Sixth Street, where the Racine Arts Council makes its home, that I feel I must take advantage of it–and I can’t resist the idea of having you join me in doing so.

What we are going to do is simple. I’ve taken a photograph of Eric R. Peterson’s mixed media work Dark Drawing. You can come in and see it live during gallery hours, stop by next weekend*, and preview it here, since it’s attached to this post in all its curious glory. As you can see by the vivid colors and many individual images that make up this intriguing conglomeration, there is a lot to be inspired by in this piece, and a lot to question–and answer–whether in fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Thoughts and questions that come to my mind include:

Where did all that gold come from?
Why is the eye dribbling silver?
Who is Marcia talking to?
Is the ankh attached to the triangle?
What’s with the lady with no face?

I’m sure if you take a close look at Dark Drawing, questions will come to your mind as well, questions that can be the cornerstone of this fun writing prompt.

Simply focus in on the specific image or area of your choice. Dark Drawing offers many! It could be the Zebra shoes (yes, those will actually fit someone’s feet–heel implant body modification actually is a thing). Or maybe for some reason you can’t quite explain, you’re fascinated by the possibilities the little blue zippered envelope presents.  Once you’ve chosen a part of the art, tell the story behind it, answer questions that come to your mind about it, or write a poem including words it brings to mind in relation to it.

The nice thing about prompts is that they are great practice that don’t necessarily have to lead to a completed piece–although they certainly can. I think of them in sort of the same way as scales played in warm-up or in practicing music: They don’t have to lead anywhere necessarily, but the more you do them, the more nimble an artist you’ll likely become. They’re sort of hypnotic in a way that can lead to some unexpected improvisational excellence.

If you’ve never done a prompt like this before, know that your practice can be based on writing for a set amount of time, up to a specific word count, or in any way you like! Just pick a portion or an image of Dark Drawing and get writing. The fruit of your prompt doesn’t have to be a complete story, article, or poem either. With something like this, really anything goes!

I’ll share mine with you in next week’s blog. I hope you’ll feel free to share yours too. As always, you can post to our Facebook page, reply in the comments section, or email me at writerinresidence@racineartscouncil.org . I hope to hear from you…

…And see you! *Come meet the artist of this week’s inspirational piece, Eric R. Peterson, as well as all the artists involved in the Vital Arts show here at 409 Sixth Street next Saturday, the 28th of April, between 1:30 to 3:30 pm! Artists will be discussing the work and current and past Writers-in-Residence will also be on site from 11:00 to 1:00 to answer your questions, play with words, and meet the public.

04.18.18 Blog Image Prompt
Eric R. Peterson’s Dark Drawing

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