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, September 5, 2012

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge ~ Internal Monologue

The Bus ~ Frida Kahlo (1929)
Wikipaintings.org  (Creative Commons)

There is an old joke that goes something like: "I talk to myself because its the best conversation I get all day!"
Internal Monologue, also known as inner voice, internal speech, or verbal stream of consciousness is thinking in words. It also refers to the semi-constant internal monologue one has with oneself at a conscious or semi-conscious level. Writers have made use of this device in order to allow the audience or reader to enter into the thought-pattern of their characters. It's how we get to know them better, and form an emotional connection with them, as fictitious as they may be.

Let's take Hamlet's famous soliloquy from Act 3, scene 1:

                    To be, or not to be, that is the question:
                    Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
                    The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
                    Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
                    And by opposing end them...

... but, no, we are not going Shakespearean today.  I would rather you read the following poem instead.

Theatre Farce ~ Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Wikipaintings.org  (Creative Commons)


At the Theatre
To the Lady Behind Me
A.P. Herbert


Dear Madam, you have seen this play;
I never saw it till today.
You know the details of the plot,
But, let me tell you, I do not.
The author seeks to keep from me
The murderer's identity,
And you are not a friend of his
If you keep shouting who it is.
The actors in their funny way
Have several funny things to say,
But they do not amuse me more
If you have said them just before;
The merit of the drama lies,
I understand, in some surprise;
But the surprise must now be small
Since you have just foretold it all.
The lady you have brought with you
Is, I infer, a half-wit too,
But I can understand the piece
Without assistance from your niece.
In short, foul woman, it would suit
Me just as well if you were mute;
In fact, to make my meaning plain,
I trust you will not speak again.
And—-may I add one human touch?—-
Don't breathe upon my neck so much.


This is, perhaps, one internal monologue which was externalized by the height of frustration but it serves as an example of the direction I wish us to pursue. Allow your character to express his or her innermost thoughts, private rants, pet hates or passionate discourses incurred by close proximity to an irritating stranger: the mother who allows her child to throw a temper tantrum in the checkout queue, the motorist who is driving like a moron in rush hour traffic, the teenage couple getting hot 'n heavy in a public park or the kind of "neck-breather" who most gets on your nerves.

The Old Man and the Old Woman ~ Marc Chagall (1915)
Wikipaintings.org  (Creative Commons)
The end result should be a piece of writing which reveals both the character of the speaker, as well as that of the one who has caused the internal monologue.  Have fun with this one - I'm sure it will be rather liberating to  have the opportunity to verbalize our (or our persona's) complaints.



21 comments:

flipside records said...

That Herbert poem is awesome. I love it. :)

coalblack said...

i wrote somethin for ya kerry. you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll--

well, i dunno. i hope ya like it.

Daydreamertoo said...

Darn it... can you remover the (Correct link) for me please? I keep forgetting I had to put a new one on there the other day and forget to remove that.
Thanks Kerry. Great subject!

Laurie Kolp said...

Great prompt... thanks, Kerry!

Kerry O'Connor said...

It's gone 4.30 her and I've only just arrived home. I'm thrilled to see that 3 poems have already been linked up.

Marian said...

hah! i like this. though i think every last thing i write is some kind of wrestling internal monologue :) thank you, kerry.

hedgewitch said...

Great prompt, Kerry--I have so many rants it's hard to know where to start, but I will brood a bit and see what I can do.

Susie Clevenger said...

Love the prompt. I have had many internal rants..thank goodness they remained internal. :)

Susan said...

I love the Herbert poem "At the Theatre . . . "! Thank you for that and this luscious opportunity. Forgive me--I posted something I so wanted to circulate--but I will be back with a rant. I can think of so many!

PS. Thank you for the Kahlo and the Chagal! Now, if only their paintings could talk! This may have been the last minute that Kahlo had no pain.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh this will be fun. I'll pull out my internal Mr Magoo, never very far from me, hee hee. I'm cleaning right now, but will be back.

Mary said...

I finally came up with an idea!

manicddaily said...

A lovely fun post and great Kahlo. My poem terribly odd, I'm afraid, and not taking this in the comic direction you inspire - but then - I don't want anyone who reads to stop talking to me! k.

Kateri said...

Loved this prompt!

Helen said...

WHEW! That felt good ..........

Marian said...

all right, you know, sometimes you have the best intentions and then your brain takes you in a wholly different direction. i don't think i responded to the prompt, though it is an internal monologue of sorts, and there is an irritating character in here. but damn, i spent a long time on this weird thing, so i'm giving it to you anyway. *slinks off with tail between legs*

aprille said...

Wasn't going to do this prompt, but it was too good to miss.

Seeking Elevation said...

How have I never seen this site before? I'll be back!

Susan said...

I promised to be back with a sassy one, but this is another historical reflection. I seem to be stuck in that groove for a minute. And I am loving reading all the poems for this challenge!

Ella said...

What a great challenge! I will return...love this :D

Margaret said...

... I wrote about a "conversation" I have had for a number of years... Thanks for the challenge!

Hannah said...

Great challenge Kerry!! Thank you...be patient I'll be round to read soon as I can! :)