A blog entry is forthcoming about my experience at Kenyon, but I need more time to let the ideas marinate. Almost as soon as I got back home, I dove into my current play and am up to my eyeballs in heavy revision. I'm so excited by the progress, but I just haven't been able to pull myself away to write about the experience. But I will!
Instead, I've decided to post a writing prompt. I've heard from some of you on Facebook, and it seems you're hungry for writing prompts.
One of the most provoking master classes I did at Kenyon was with Heidi Schreck. If you haven't read her plays, you should definitely check them out. Grand Concourse is perhaps the play she's known best for. I got to see a workshop of her new play, The Maritime, which was brilliant.
We did a lot of exercises in her class. But one of them had to do with using the physical body as a way of devising material, and I think it's wonderful for writing in any genre. She had studied with Lidia Yuknavitch, who talks about Corporeal Writing. I would love to learn more about this, but I'll just relay the exercise as Heidi conducted it.
We started by doing some stretching, walking around the room and looking at each other, doing some calisthenics. I liked this as a starting point because we had been sitting for so many hours. This was a nice change in that way. After we did around 10-minutes of physical movement, we sat down, closed our eyes, and felt the sources of stress in our body (where we hold tension).
Then, with pen and paper, we did some writing prompts:
1. Write a journal entry about one of the stories of your skin (a bruise, scar, place that carries pain, thick/thin skinned places, tattoos, etc.). We spent 5-10 minutes doing this.
2. Write now about the story of one of your character's skin. Again, this was a 5-10 minute journal entry.
Then, we did the Hand Exercise (She credited Tanya Barfield with this. I suppose you could use feet or skin, etc.):
1. List 5 activities your hand has done recently.
2. List 5 things your hand has held or touched in your lifetime.
3. List 5 things your hand wants to give, get, or do.
4. What prevents your hand from giving, getting, or doing what it wants?
5. Now do the same list from the POV of your character.
6. After completing the above list for your character, imagine your character doing this activity he/she secretly wants to do. Then, another character enters.
7. Write the scene the ensues...
Have fun with this. I actually wrote a scene that I think will in some way become an important moment at the end of my play. So, it was fruitful for me. As always, report back about your experience with this!