When I was in the theater, I ran across a unit for creating characters by taking found objects and listing characteristics of the object to build aspects of your character. For example:
This fern might be characterized as
Taking those characterizations, one might get a picture of an innocent young girl without a lot of experience encircled by family. Or a twisted creature with an envious streak but not much physical strength. Quite different results from the same words.
Then, when I was teaching English, I had a folder called “Thousand Word Pictures” collected to use as prompts for getting kids to write stories. Greeting card pictures, postcards, magazine photos, and such.
For example, each of these could be used as a writing prompt:
When I was looking for ideas to use in a poetry workshop, I realized that all of these things could be combined to write poetry.
“Found Object” poetry is poetry where you take a random object or image, list some impressions of that prompt, and then use those impressions to write a poem.
Here is an example of a “found object” poem from start to finish.
The Wedding Dress
as fabric yellows…
The bright laughter
and high hopes
symbolized in lace
fallen into sepia
as time softens
an end to dreams.
When you are stuck for something to write about, this technique can get the wheels turning again. It’s a lot of fun–especially as a group exercise, for a writers group, perhaps.
Here’s a set of objects to play with. Give the concept a try. If anyone does come up with a poem, please share it in the comments. 🙂