For this prompt I ask everyone to write two short pieces, and give them about five minutes for each. For the first piece, I ask them to begin with a list of emotions, and then choose one and write about it. I remind them that they can use short phrases, full sentences, even single words, and be as specific or as abstract as they like: there’s no right or wrong way to do a free write.
For the second free write, I ask them to write about something found in the natural world: trees, clouds, mountains, a specific kind of flower, anything that comes to mind.
After the two five-minute free writes are over, we combine the two pieces, taking them line by line: the first line from free write #1, followed by the first line of free write #2, then the second line from free write #1, followed by the second line of free write #2, back and forth this way, taking one line from each piece and putting them together to create one new “braided” piece.
The result is always surprising, and often ends up being something like a prose poem.
Mine is below.
I miss her. Every April. Her wrinkly nose, her little black eyes. Big pink and yellow blossoms. I love the way she snorts in my ears when she kisses them. Fat. Juicy. Her tongue is whiplash fast. Fragrant. I love her chunky body. I love that bush. The squat legs, the tiny clip of a tail. The first one he gave to me. When she sees me, she smiles. Taller than any other. Wiggles her entire back end. Sometimes I have to tend to it. Crying. She and I have a history of tenderness. I spray away the bad stuff with a non-toxic soap. We shared a home that could have been. Clean. Sometimes. My bulldog love. I clip a rose, bring it inside, set it in water. My bulldog love. It blooms like a peony, layer upon layer, opening. My bulldog love. I never get tired of that. The way it looks. So lovely. He asks every year if I can stay with you. Every year. My heart swells, it does. I have to tell him no. I’m in love all over again. Still, I have to tell him no.