The 2015 graduating cohort of Oregon State’s low-residency MFA program have put together an intriguing capstone project. They have created a website/blog called Plenum, with a beckoning tagline of Enter here. Disappear.
Each week, there is a new prompt to encourage creative writing. As an incoming MFA student, I decided to participate in week one (which is now over) and will soon submit my entry for week two (which is open through Sunday – the 5th). The week one prompt involved a number of questions, and asked the writer to answer them in whatever way they felt compelled.
Though the first week has come and gone, there are quite a few weeks left in the project, meaning that you also have time to head over there and contribute.
My week one entry is posted below, as an example of what to expect. Check it out, then head over to Plenum and post some writing of your own.
(Questions posted as prompts for all by Oregon State MFA students, these specific answers are mine.)
1. How is it that you have come to breathe?
With heart beating and lungs burning; I inhale and decide to live through all of this.
2. In which ocean has your heart landed and how did it get there?
In an ocean of ink – black waters so thick that I find my way by feel, and by hope.
3. How will you let it be different every time?
By removing all expectation, and also by noticing the details.
4. What does underwater smell like?
Like a dream, a word stuck on the tip of a tongue, or an image seen through the heat rising from an asphalt roadway.
5. What value do you place on your sacrum?
It’s not for sale, but then again, nobody has attempted to purchase it.
6. What does it mean to be made in the image of god?
To understand that everything is flawed, everything is broken.
7. Where do you go when you cannot move?
To a small town on the river, apple trees in the front yard. To a time when the world could have become anything, and then it did. I go home.
8. What is the sex of your language?
Scientists have yet to decipher.
9. What do you remember about tomorrow?
That I rose, fell, and got up again.
10. What is the meaning of the color of your eyes?
A storm is on the horizon – greens and hazels, specks of gray, a dark border. In one eye, a tiny black freckle disrupts the color and reminds me that even if nobody notices, the details are still there.
11. What are the consequences?
Bleeding out, fading away.
12. Who told you it was okay?
Is it though?
13. Where is your impetus?
Soaked in a fear of failing, and wrapped in a fear of flying too high.
14. How will you continue?
Just by stretching letters into words; words into sentences.
And so that is what I will do.