Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Words Count With Mama Zen

 "None of us could breathe; somewhere under those bushes was the rest of Ray Brower. The train had knocked Ray Brower out of his Keds the same way it had knocked the life out of his body. The kid wasn't sick; the kid wasn't sleeping; the kid was dead."

--- from the movie Stand by Me
---based on the novella The Body by Stephen King

A child knocked right out of his tennis shoes . . . gut twisting image, isn't it?  Stephen King apparently thinks so.  That image plays a significant role in at least two of his stories (The Body, Pet Sematary).  And, Keds?  Those iconic shoes of childhood, vulnerability, and innocence appear dozens and dozens of times.  For King, these are power images.

A power image is an image that a writer returns to time after time.  It's part art, part personal mythology, and part creative shorthand.  It's a thing, a sound, an angle of light; it's anything that a writer imbues with a greater meaning than it would ordinarily have and adopts as a signature symbol.  Used well, a power image will . . . well, knock you right out of your Keds.

So, what about you, poet?  What's your power image?  What sort of symbols do you find yourself returning to again and again?  Show us . . . in twenty-five words or less.

Bonus Round!  Think of some of your favorite Toad poets.  Is there some sort of image that you associate with a particular poet?  Do tell!

27 comments:

Vaishali Jain said...

A brilliant prompt, Mama Zen! I had no idea about power images and they sound such a nice concept.

Had I gone for the bonus round, I'd have written about you. You are one of my fave toads and the image that I associate with you is of Brevity. You're AWESOME at it. *smiles*

Kerry O'Connor said...

Oh, this is excellent, MZ. I thought I would start with Shay's motif's: the gypsy, St Creola, big cats... but I don't have all day ;)
I think it's a good thing to find the few images which resonate most powerfully, and have some symbolic meaning. One of mine is a blackbird, and a poem has been teasing the back of my mind lately. Don't know if I can pull it off in 25, but I'll give it a go.

aprille said...

Well, it's hard NOT to associate you with your profile image...

Susan said...

Thank you for this eye-opening challenge. I haven't self evaluated and need to. I should know those themes for gathering, ordering, and publishing! I should stop using "shoulds" and be the turtle I was meant to be! O--turtle--I left that one out! But I think today's poem will make you smile.

Mary said...

I am not sure if I fulfilled the challenge to the letter of its intent; but I wrote about things I often write about!

Oh..and just sayin': Happy Birthday to ME today!

Laurie Kolp said...

I hope this is what you had in mind, MZ.

Ella said...

Wow, You are making us think...
I love Stephen King~
Power image...okay...off to hunt n' gather for words!
Thanks MZ :D

Marian said...

hah! i know what mine is. oh okay, i can write another poem on the subject, if i HAVE to :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This prompt is a real challenge for a wordy gal like me, but I will give it a try!

Helen said...

I had a real "King" experience in 4th grade .. Vernon Higgins, a classmate, was struck by a train as he walked on the tracks. My first funeral .. our class was walked the few blocks from school to church for the service. I still remember.

Power images pack quite a punch.

hedgewitch said...

Just got in from mowing and saw this, MZ--I have just the thing, too--you'll know it when you see it. ;_)

Margaret said...

I thought and thought... not sure WHAT my power image is. But I know from where my inspiration comes from... often my photography.

PattiKen said...

Oh, fun! I love Stephen King. He packs so much about time and setting in his images. Not sure what my "power image" says about me, but (shrug) it's one I can't seem to escape.

Oh, and were I to pick an image I associate with you, it would have something to do with foot-stomping and independence. :-)

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Hi Mama Zen,

What a great idea! I've been thinking about recurring patterns in my writing lately too. Thanks for this. I posted at
http://carolsteel5050.blogspot.ca/2012/08/metamorphosis.html

flipside records said...

"It's part art, part personal mythology, and part creative shorthand." This is a great definition.

Fireblossom said...

I always think of Hedgewitch's crones and spirits and things, who have done it all and seen it all and have a few words to say on the subject.

Mama Zen said...

I hope that you guys had fun with this!

Mary said...

Lots of fun, MZ! It was a great challenge. Thank you.

Margaret said...

Yes. Is this to be a recurring prompt? Has it been done before?

manicddaily said...

Hi MZ, being spare is definitely an important but super-difficult discipline. I cheated by having not including title in word count (and having a longish title - well, four or five words - ha!)

Thanks for the discipline. You set a very good example. k.

Hannah said...

Oh, this was a great time! I got caught up in 45 min worth of writing and completed and then went to copy/paste the actual challenge for my post...25 words...doh!!

I wrote and linked a new shorty with a link to the longer one on that post... :)

I still want to try the bonus, too, great ideas, thank you Mama Zen!

Grandmother said...

Glad to be a new player in your garden.

izzy said...

I read some work- Margret's -this am,
and enjoyed it so much I hopped over and joined in. Thanks- I'll visit some others now!

Ella said...

Sorry, I late! I do love this challenge~ Thank you Mama Zen :D

Marian said...

i'm even later than you, Ellen. which is kinda crazy because mine's totally obvious. oh well! now to read all of yinz. xo

Linc said...

This is great!

Mary Mansfield said...

And it looks like I'm even later still! What a fantastic prompt, forced me to delve a bit deeper into my own writings.