Friday, November 18, 2016

Hot Flash Friday=Leonard Cohen’s Writing Process

Not sure what happened last week, but I was not able to post on Friday/Hot Flash. (We all know what happened last week.)

Leonard Cohen died.

Outside of Bob Dylan I cannot name another more prolific songwriter/poet. He was someone who embodied my mantra of Write Right Now. I don’t think he ever passed up an opportunity to chronicle a moment, experience, a relationship, turn it into words, something to be sung.

Cohen’s writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, was “like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and I’m in it and it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it.”

A perfect description of what it’s like to write for any writer. I wished I’d had this quote when working on 365 Affirmations for the Writer 
There’s also no denying the inspiration for these lines:
from Ceremony, by Leonard Cohen
When you kneel below me
and in both your hands
hold my manhood like a sceptre,
When you wrap your tongue
about the amber jewel
and urge my blessing,
I understand those Roman girls
who danced around a shaft of stone
and kissed it till the stone was warm.
Kneel, love, a thousand feet below me,
so far I can barely see your mouth and hands
perform the ceremony,
Kneel till I topple to your back
with a groan, like those gods on the roof
that Samson pulled down.
What I like in this piece is how he goes from one image to another: Samson, roman girls performing a ceremony, gods and goddesses, biblical as well as classical imagery=into an erotic poem.

What if as a writing prompt you took an Old Testament story and spun a poem, or some other well-known tale, a fairy tale, Where the Wild Things Are and used it as a jumping off point, an analog to a flash piece?? Dr. Seuss, Cat in the Hat, The Night Before Christmas, find the parallels and then diverge.

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