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 The Dwelling:
A Collage of Rooms


1) Remember the house/apartment/place you lived in five years ago. It might be the same place you live in now. Draw a map of that place, using as much remembered detail as you can. This should look something like a floor plan. Include significant adjacent outdoor areas (decks, porches, yards, etc.) as well.

2) Now on separate paper list all of the individual rooms/places that you have mapped, and for each place - in a few sentences - describe two or more specific sense memories you have for each place. A sense memory is some particular thing you have seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched in that place. You might want to focus on something surprising, scary, or funny - but very common, simple things (a clock ticking or the way the sun shines through this window at a certain time of day) are also fine.

3) Next, zero in on a particular place and (using your sense-memory) write a mini-poem that captures the moment of that memory. Don't tell the whole story, only give enough detail to help the reader figure it out. the title of the mini-poem will be the name of the place. For example:

a sudden leap
a sickening snap
beneath the bed
my broken Model T
black plastic bits
all over
"You broke it!"

all that time

Then move on to another room or place. Notice the way I use lines to isolate and emphasize the elements of my memory. Can you tell what happened?

4) The finished project will consist of a series of mini-poems (at least eight) which, when read together will create a verbal collage of some of your life in that place.

Your house has become a poem of rooms. Your poem has become a house of memories.

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