One thing that drives most professors of writing crazy is abstractions. We find ourselves saying, “But what does that mean????” At the same time, the student thinks that they’ve been quite clear. It’s “dope” or “cool” or “very nice.” One of the best lessons I learned as a Goddard College graduate student was to take my writing beyond abstractions and to use concrete and vivid images. The words of my advisor, Elena Georgiou, are engrained in me: “Show, don’t tell!”
Abstractions are vague words that could have different meanings depending on who you ask. Images, however, paint a picture with words. Elena once said, it’s the difference between “painting the town red” and “smearing the face of Harrisburg with the crimson pulp of a blood orange.” Wow.
So when my students started using the following phrase, “some type of way,” to describe their feelings, my old lady response was, “What type of way? What does that mean, anyway????”
And yet, recently I was listening to A Vintage Love Affair, the new CD by my friend, Sankofa the Poet. The whole CD is, well, dope. That is to say, very nice. (LOL) And when I heard the love poem delivered by Tiger Rose, with his voice as smooth and delicious as chocolate fondue , I’ve got to tell you the truth….it had me feeling some type of way!
So, my goal for this week is to write a “some type of way” poem that I can deliver at the next Word Flow Wednesday event on February 5th at the Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camp Hill, PA. I hope you will join us that night when our features are the ladies of Poem Sugar Press, including “the Priestess” herself, Carla Christopher.
My question for you, dear reader, is this: What makes YOU feel some type of way? Let’s give ourselves till the end of the month to write that thing, whatever it is, whether the “way” is good, bad or ugly, in language that uses all of our senses.
Are you with me?