FullSizeRender (7)Anaphora poem. “An Anaphora is “the repetition of a word or expression several times within a clause or within a paragraph”. In poetry the repetition of the phrase can be just at the beginning of each line, setting the tone as a meditation or a mantra, or it can be utilized more subtlety within the poem. The poem can be free verse or prose style.”

“The term “anaphora” comes from the Greek for ‘a carrying up or back,’ and refers to a type of parallelism created when successive phrases or lines begin with the same words, often resembling a litany.”

When I was a little girl, I had a litany. I had two. The first was, “It’s ok, Seena.” (I called myself Seena.) I would say it whenever I got a shot at the doctor’s office, or whenever I fell down a scraped a knee. It’s okay. It’ll be okay. The other was “Sí se puede.” It’s something my grandfather use to tell me in letters whenever I would write to him to tell him my improbable dreams. It means yes you can.

I’ve been looking up prompts for Saturday’s QWW: Ridgewood Edition. I’ve actually been kind of nervous about it — it’s a little difficult to find good prompts on the internet. There are a lot of silly prompts, a lot of prompts geared toward classrooms. And silliness is great! I’m frequently a silly person. But I don’t want QWW at Topos to feel like a classroom.

One of the prompts I found was to write an anaphora poem. I don’t consider myself a poet. I leave that for the true poet-souls, like my chica Crystal. You can’t help but be a poet if you’re around Crystal.

But I like the word anaphora.

So there’s a prompt for you. Anaphora. Repetition of a word. Give me free verse, or prose, or whatever your heart desires. Sí se puede. Just write it.

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I like picnics. Here’s a picnic basket full of prompts. Some of them I stole from the Internet. Some of them are somewhat silly. Things that teenagers would take and run with — what does the kitchen look like in the creepiest coffee shop in the world? What kind of superpowers would your grandmother have? What would her costume look like? I’m not asking too many big questions. Instead I want you to run with it. Crystal wants you to write on your nerve, and I do too.

I went on a date tonight. I talked to her about that peculiar combination of qualities teenagers tend to have: self-involvement and self-consciousness. I thought about my diaries from when I was a kid, a girl-woman, a being on the threshold between two worlds. I remembered the sheer amount of writing I did. Nothing was off limits. I had a dream journal, a journal for teaching myself Tarot, a journal almost entirely devoted to the sincere belief that I would one day marry Orlando Bloom. It sounds silly. I was aware, at the time, of how incredibly silly it all seemed. I did it anyway.

At some point, I stopped giving myself permission to be silly.

I recently started journaling again. I was surprised at how hard things hit me as I wrote. Things I felt, things I’d dreamed: Finally taking the time to get them out onto paper, to give them weight, to let them be real. A friend of mine said I was doing it backwards — that you should feel the things first, and then get them out there. But I think we give things power when we write them down. We make them real in a way they weren’t real before. Another friend of mine told me she’d given up on writing, “except for journaling.” I told her, girl, that’s not giving up. That’s the realest writing a writer can do.

I’m not asking you to journal. I don’t think I could sit in a coffee shop full of people and journal in a way that feels real and right to me. I just started writing in a new journal, and I’ve promised myself that it’ll never leave my room. I won’t even take it into the kitchen, which is where I do most of my work during the day, and kitchens are frequently the places I am most myself, and most comfortable. But for the Ridgewood section of Queens Writes Weekend, I am asking you to be silly. Give yourself that permission. The thing I love about flash fiction is that it doesn’t give you enough time to second guess yourself. You just go.

FullSizeRender (6)So I’ve filled my picnic basket full of prompts that remind me of that point in my life when I had done the most writing. I dreamed of pirates and elves, of witches and goddesses, of superhero chicks who save the world a lot.

In my picnic basket on Saturday you’ll find Tarot cards, and a deck of unfortunately named playing cards; you’ll find a feather, and pearls, and storytelling dice. We’ll break up the two hours into sections — two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, etc., and you’ll pick a prompt and just go. Anne Lamott calls them shitty first drafts, and I like that, but we don’t even have to get that far. Just pick a prompt and go.

Sí se puede. #QUEENSWRITES