Friday, May 31, 2013

Writing Exercise: Cubes 'n' Poetry

For a recent meeting, my writing group mixed together two exercises to see how they would come out. We took the quintain poem exercise and added Rory's Story Cubes. The cubes are a set of nine dice with different pictures on every side. We rolled the dice and then chose one to be the word for the poem. In case you don't remember (or are too lazy to click through the link above), the poem is organized like this:
1st line--one word; a noun
2nd line--two words; adjectives
3rd line--three words; verbs
4th line--a sentence that expresses feelings
5th line--repeat the first line; the noun
We rolled these cubes (the picture is a reenactment of the actual event) with these results:

Make a poem and a story!

I chose the word "fountain" and wrote the following poem.
Wet and wide
Gushing, splashing, sparkling
Jacob is drawn to fountains as if he were returning home
And then I wrote this essay.
According to my son, for a vacation to be fun two things are required. First the hotel must have a swimming pool. Second, the city or town or village must have a fountain.

The attraction of the swimming pool is obvious. Who doesn't like to splash around in a cool, refreshing pool? Especially after a hot day of running around looking at historic or touristy sights. Many happy vacations have followed a simple rhythm: early breakfast, drive or walk to a popular place, have a snack, see the sights, have lunch, go back to the hotel, take a nap maybe, go for a swim, have dinner in (if there's a kitchen), and sleep. The swim is a relaxing bit of exercise and fun with new games being invented all the time.

The fountain's attraction may not be so obvious. But my son is drawn to them. If he hears splashing water, he has to rush off and check it out. Occasionally the noise turns out to be a waterfall, which is just as delightful. He keeps an eye on it and asks insistently for his picture to be taken. We are happy to comply.

Fountains usually keep him longer than other cascading water does. He listens and watches with intensity. If it's the sort for coins to go in, he will ask for change. If it's the sort for feet to go in, he will ask to take his shoes and socks off. If it's the sort for water to splash out, he will run to the dry area. He's ready for all sorts.

Certainly the sound is soothing. Water washing into itself has a pleasant cadence. The same rhythms are repeated, like a well-ordered clockwork. The sound is natural and hypnotic, a relaxing tone that washes out the harsh horns, buzzing cell phones, and squawking street sellers. The fountain creates a bubble of comfort around its immediate vicinity.

The light is magical too. With a bright sun, almost any angle provides a sparkle like diamonds. A rainbow could even emerge in just the right spot. Again, there's a hypnotic effect of rhythm and relaxation, this time for the eyes in stead of the ears.

The fountain's rim often provides a good seat for a quick snack, maybe an apple from a nearby fruit stand or shop. It's a good excuse to linger at a favorite spot. Further planning can happen if dreams and distractions can be warded off. But we can't stay forever, or we'd never have time for a swim in the afternoon!
I think the ending is a little weak, it was one of those times when the clock ran out. I did okay integrating the other cube images, though I didn't get the abacus (I should have written something about counting, maybe counting on a town to have a fountain, though that's more of a stretch than "games" for "dice.") or the theater masks.

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