Skip to content

november poem-a-day, day 15

November 15, 2010

Today is Day 15 in the Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge. It’s the half-way mark! Yippee!!

Sometimes the prompts send me to the staging area of my brain. This is not the creative area of my brain. It is the thinking part. The planning ahead part. The part that asks, “What will it be about?” That part that warns, “You must know where you are going.” That’s what happened to me with yesterday’s prompt on crossroads. The philosophical magnitude of that word sent me to the staging area where the voice began immediately, “It has to mean something!”

I didn’t realize my error (misuse, abuse!) of yesterday’s writing time until I was lying in bed last night trying to sleep. I thought how much happier I would have been imagining a physical crossroads and describing what I saw. Undoubtedly, I would have seen something that belonged in a poem.

I should have jumped into it, which is what I most like to do in the world!

This is one value in these poem-a-day challenges: sometimes the obstacles are easier to see than when you’re writing less frequently.

Anyway! With that lesson in mind, I took a flying leap into today’s prompt: write a “just when you thought it was safe” poem. I did a free write in list form, selected my favorites and gave it a title.



There are many more “just when’s” that are still on the page. When I revise, I will figure out if I’ve selected the best ones and what the best order for them is. Also, in my free write, I came upon an ending I kind of liked: no, not then either. But I decided it is best to leave it open. Everyone knows Part B to a story that starts, “Just when I thought.” Our narrative structures are deeply ingrained. And that works in our favor sometimes.

(Of course, I could use “not then either” as the title and begin each line with “just when” instead of “say.”)

(OK. This is me procrastinating on housework. Must. End. This. Post.)


(Except that I really do like the idea of the alternate title and deleting the “say” from each line … )

(And did you notice that the plane crash/emergency landing sneaked in? But no, this is still not the yellow-biplane-crashes-into-my-field poem.)

  1. November 15, 2010 12:20 pm

    I, too like your alternate title, and no “say”. I do think it needs a kind of tying everything together last line. But your way of going about this prompt really grabs my admiration.

  2. November 15, 2010 2:24 pm

    I agree with Viv. Actually, I’m one who eschews the word “just” whenever possible, unless it’s referring to justice… but in this case, the bow to “Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Water,” the famous “Jaws” tag line, made it work.

    I live near Amherst, so I know about planes crashing into houses… unfortunately.

    And if you find something on your list to give a punchier ending, it will be even better. Your idea of a list, depending neither on meter nor rhyme, yet still maintaining a semblance of form, is clever, Carolee. I like this and will encourage more folks to click over here!

    Peace, Amy

  3. November 16, 2010 1:19 am

    I love “say just when I thought the tide could not reach this new castle”

  4. November 17, 2010 3:10 am

    It makes me think “Just when we thought the aftershocks had stopped…”
    (Did you know they are still having aftershocks in Haiti? Makes our two months down here seem puny by comparison)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: