Andy Ellis and Carol Lunch Williams haven’t yet paid me for my last blog entry. That, of course, only helps to prove what I said last week: they can’t be trusted. But I’m not going to belabor the point that novelists are prevaricators because it’s obvious. And in addition to being prevaricators, I think they may also be bloodless, soulless zombies. More on that later. What I am going to do is share something I do when I don’t feel like writing, a short brain-teaser sort of exercise that gets the creative juices flowing. These short little drills don’t take much time or much brain power, but they do require that you’re able to count to seven and defend yourself at the same time. OK, step one comes from the famous sports writer, Red Smith: “There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Step Two: With your vein open and flowing, sit down at your keyboard (or, if you’re a dinosaur, in front of a pad of paper) and prepare to write. Step Three: For a moment, ignore the groaning and mawing zombies outside your window. They’ve been attracted by the scent of your blood. More on that later. Step Four: Settle into a Zen state by playing three games of Solitaire (on your computer if you’re modern; with a deck of cards if you’re still living in the 20th century) Step Five: Make sure that vein’s still open and that blood is still flowing. Pick up a crowbar to keep the zombies at bay. Step Six: Take a good look at the nearest zombie. Look for specific details: what does its breath smell like? What kind of human tissue dangles from its ragged teeth? What, exactly, is the pallor of its skin? Does it moan or groan? What does it want? Specific sensory details are essential for this exercise. Step Seven: Now find some suitable zombie-words that add up to 5 syllables. If the zombies are getting to be a distraction, toss them a cat or some other small mammal to pacify their blood lust while you jot down those words, the first line of your zombie haiku. Step Eight: Pay attention now, because this is really important. Do not let the zombies get a grip on your skull. By now they’re drooling for your brain, but you’ve still got two more lines to write. Use the nearby fire ax and lop off a couple of their limbs. If you’ve got a Bic lighter, flick it in their faces and make a loud noise. If you’re a blonde, tuck your hair up under your Cleveland Indians ball cap. Finish that first line. Step Nine: Drawing on your close-up and personal experience with the zombies, compose your second line. Be sure to use specific, zombie-ish details as much as possible. This line must have seven syllables, no more, no less. Resist the urge to ask the zombies for help at this point. They’re notoriously lousy with rhythm and word choice. Step Ten: After stepping into your latex scrub suit (to protect you from splatter) take the heavy- gauge shotgun out from under your desk and blast the nearest zombie in the head. While its companions dine on the fresh gore, block out the sucking and snarling sounds and focus on writing line three: 5 more syllables to finish off your zombie haiku. Step 11: Spray the ravenous pack of zombies with lighter fluid and torch them. Read your zombie haiku aloud by the flickering light of their burning corpses. You may want to cover your nose. Step 12: Seal up that open vein, and get back to work on your real writing project. And don’t forget to close the window. As a veteran author of zombie haiku, I will share a few of my favorites here. Read them and weep. a good brain teaser? try writing zombie haiku daily for a month a haiku a day will keep the undead at bay unless they smell brains zombie haiku are highly addictive ‘cuz they get into your blood dyslexic zombies want brains but relentlessly stalk Brians instead grading papers, late, teacher dozes. zombies come in to pick her brains. teen zombies invade junior high assembly leave numbskulls behind Thoreau a zombie? who else would want to suck out the marrow of life? Poe was an easy target for zombies because of his tell-tale heart foggy night, london Dickens stumbles, zombies lurk great expectations! if Van Gogh had been more ambitious he would have mailed brain, not an ear civil war zombies spill breakfast on their shirts, wear red badge of porridge slick shiny jiggly and red, is it jello or a snack for undead? in the absence of brains and spleen, hungry zombies snack on eye candy “i’m having a brain freeze,” i said. “i’ll have one too,” said thirsty zombie. fallen zombie cries, “please, sir, lend me a hand” Samaritan snack chasing brainful blondes? slow down, limping will suffice. death trip imminent.
Daily Archives: September 7, 2011
You Want Haiku? I’ll Give You Haiku
Filed under Chris