My New Year's resolution: The Storymatic

My 2016 Writing Resolution #1

In the past, I made your typical New Year’s resolution. You know: lose weight, eat better, exercise, get more sleep, etc. Most of the time I failed to keep said resolution. I feel like they consist of things I should be doing anyway and I often fail at them only to make the same resolutions again and again. This year I’m taking a different tack. My resolution is to write a poem each week in 2016.

I’ve already been writing a poem each week for about four weeks now, so it’s approaching habit but I want to sustain it for the course of the year. Now, do I have ideas for 52 poems? Not really. That’s where the Storymatic comes in to help me keep my resolution.

The Storymatic

Often billed as a party game, I’m using the Storymatic as a series of writing prompts. The box contains two sets of cards: gold cards, which set who the protagonist is; and copper cards (I think they’re yellow and orange, but hey…) that set the scene/setting. You draw two of each cards (I draw them with my eyes closed) and there’s your writing prompt.

I remove the cards from the box so I don’t draw them again. There are hundreds of each type of card. There are also wild cards, but I ignore those.

Also, you’re supposed to abide by the Two Laws of The Storymatic:

  1. Your main character must change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.
  2. You cannot kill your main character.

I’m not necessarily following those as I write poems. I generally spend some time coming up with an opening line and then I write until I’ve covered all four cards and it feels like I’ve got a complete arc written.

My Prompt for Next Week

For example, these are this week’s cards (also in the photo):

  • Dropout
  • Singer
  • Bad Directions
  • Last day of school

The poems will be published on Monday along with my new words if you want to play along. This week got away from me so it’ll be just a few days from now. Yes, I’m already veering towards failing at this resolution. Actually, that’s not true. I’ve been doing the writing, just not writing this post. But since getting the post up on Monday is part of the resolution, I need to get on it better. Things should get on a more regular schedule after this week.

At the end of each month I’ll take a poll as to which poem you think I should revise. These poems are first drafts. They are not rough drafts, i.e., I have not done any revising or editing on them. You’re getting what I put down on the page as it comes to me.

The Prompt for Last Week

Last week’s words:

  • Person who refuses to fit in
  • Aging clown
  • Restaurant
  • Attacked by squirrels

The poem:

There was a time when we weren’t pariahs
When the young and old looked forward to seeing us
We were a star attraction
Crossed over to television
Could find work at the drop of a hat
That was the world I wanted

Fourteen-year-old runaway looking for excitement
Learning from some of the best
The artistry of the makeup
The creation of a persona
Becoming someone else and becoming free

We were something to behold
Holding audiences in thrall at every stop
Whether it was under the lights
Or when the lights were turned out
We found something everyone could enjoy
Men, women, whatever, we never turned anyone away

They took us to restaurants
Invited us into their homes
Asked us to perform at their schools
We knew it would bring people to the main show
So we happily said yes
As did our audience

For a long time life was beautiful
Then people couldn’t tear themselves away from their screens
They’d rather watch a video of a squirrel attack
Than watch a genius create
New worlds whole out of cloth
Open their minds to amazing experiences

The show is filled with motorcycles
Extreme sports
Dangerous animals
There’s no room for someone funny
No need to bring a smile to someone’s face
When you can shock them instead

My mentor encouraged me to look into parties
And haunted houses
Trade in on the scary angle
Practically begged me to try something new
Afraid my path would mirror his
End in death and disease

Changing who I am won’t avoid death
Changing won’t avoid disease
Becoming something new to make more money
Isn’t better if it makes me less happy
Struggling is part of life
I won’t change just to make things easier