My Month of Making Manifest

Making_ManifestIt’s the last day of May, so it’s also the end of my Making Manifest month — 28 days of inspiration from writer and poet Dave Harrity, 28 days of writing exercises, a Facebook group for sharing with others hosted by the always encouraging Sandra Heska King.

Twenty-eight into the 31 days of May allowed for three days’ grace, but even at that, I didn’t keep up with all of the writing exercises. Instead of ten lines of poetry, I might have written eight; instead of a page of similes, maybe two or three, instead of writing first thing in the morning, it might have been late at night or sandwiched untidily between morning and afternoon. For me, Making Manifest was more inspiration and guide than rule book, and I hope that Dave himself might approve.

I made up for my lack of diligence with the exercises in the book by creating some practice sessions of my own, like Discovering the Poetry in Prose which experiments with line breaks. And I read through all of Dave’s extras at the back of the book, tried some haiku, and had fun with the following exercise on brevity and the well-chosen word. The instructions appear in regular print, with my attempts in italics:

Imagine an object you’d find in your backyard, and write a line that is eight words long about the object.

In my garden, an angel reads a book

Rewrite the line, this time removing two words and adding a new one.

In my garden, a stone angel reads

Now write a companion line of eight words, making the singular line a couplet.

or is the book she cradles reading her?

Immediately revise the line you just made, again taking out two words and replacing it with one.

In my garden, a stone angel reads,
or is the book rather reading her?

Repeat the exercise.

Look – a fairy – or is it an angel?

revised to

Look — a fairy — or maybe an angel

with the second line

Look — a fairy — or maybe an angel
intent on a book, a touch of heaven.

and then revised

Look — a fairy — or maybe an angel
intent on reading, a touch of heaven.

And the exercise again, first the two eight-word lines:

Wings at rest and silently reading a book,
my garden angel could almost be in heaven.

and then, the seven-word per line version:

Wings folded at rest, and silently reading,
my garden angel might be in heaven.

That’s a great exercise isn’t it? I love how this simple revision can bring greater focus to a line.

Why not try it yourself? Write an eight-word line, then take out two words and add one. Do that again with a second line. As Dave writes:

Don`t be shy — everyone is on an even playing field. What you`ve just written is probably malformed junk, but you never know what might come from it.

So why not experiment? Give yourself permission to play with words. And if you`re ready to nurture your inner poet, get your own copy of Dave Harrity’s Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand.

 



Categories: Book Reviews, Spiritual Practice, Writing

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3 replies

  1. I’m so happy you took this journey–how you took the words and the exercises and made them yours. I know Dave would approve. I love what you did with the angel… and my favorite line I think… “or is the book she cradles reading her?”

    I’m way glad to have connected with you, April–a holy collision, indeed.

    SQUEEEE! 😉

    • Oh that’s one of my favourites too, and perhaps the exception to the exercise that seven words are better than eight Thanks so much for inviting me to journey with you — it’s been a holy, happy time!

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