A Good Writing Exercise for the Laundromat

Writing prompts have become my secret weapon. Here’s one from Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life.

“Give Yourself a Little Challenge”

“George Harrison once decided, as a game, to write a song based on the first book he saw at his mother’s house. Picking one up at random, he opened it and saw the phrase ‘gently weeps,’ whereupon he promptly wrote his first great song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.'”

I read this exercise while doing my laundry. I looked around the laundromat and started a poem that appears in the September Chronogram:

The Arcade Game Polar Bear
–Big Bubble Laundromat

Sure, I was made in China, but I’m white as Arctic ice
& have an appetite for lonely hearts drawn to our orgy
of stuffed animals in the arcade game case by the door,
purple fish with kissy lips & parrots tough as oven mitts.
Countless kiddies have begged quarters off their mommies
for two tries at the joy stick that drops the three-pronged
claw of God into our midst to grab a furry prize, yet almost
always comes back empty. We’re not easy like lobsters in
the tank. We’re cheap flirts preying on your cuddly desires.
Even you with graying hair, slipping fifty cents in the slots,
don’t you see my button eyes bold as lies? I’m not the ghost
of your teddy bear. Real love spreads you thin across the ice.

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