The Wednesday Word

I’ve thought of something I can do with Wednesdays!

I participate in various prompts and puzzles on Twitter. I find it helps to keep an old mind limber, being forced to think and create using some idea that is not native to my brain. It forces new perspective. It’s also great fun. And it is a way for a generally antisocial writer further isolated by the plague era to feel like part of a group.

But I do find the prompts rather lacking. I am not a great one for conventional romance or even human-centric love narrative. I also am fairly dark but not performatively so like the more “gothic” elements in social media (well, they are on social media…). Truly, I am just not very performative at all and far more interested in word play for its own sake than is popular these days.

Also I have interests that do not mesh well with gif culture. Like the state of soils and water and carbon cycles. Like the failings of culture and the great voids in our narratives. Like the harmonic structure of rain falling in the quiet dusk. Like desert sands and subduction zone magmatism. Like bread and hearthstone and introspection and winter. In short, the prompts are often somewhat facile and boring, and I confess to abusing them mightily. I just can’t reign in the snark-witch some days.

So hey, thinks I, how about you create your own damned prompt? Throw some wrenches out there into the system and see what kind of grinding, screaming mess you can make of the machinery. Why not!

And from a practical standpoint, this is something I might be able to automatically filter. If there are responses to the prompt in comment form, I think I can write some sort of script to eliminate everything that does not contain the prompt. Limits the response breadth, yes, but also makes it possible to not grind my teeth so much when reading the remainder.

So here’s the format. I will put up a word on Wednesday here and on Twitter at WednesdayWord. I’ll stick to the 10am Eastern US time zone drop because that seems to work for most of you. (It boggles my mind that I regularly have dealings with New Zealand and so on through this medium, but I guess that’s why it’s called the world wide web.) You can respond here in comments — or on Twitter for a truly poetical challenge. (Twitter is a poet’s dream medium. Dispense with everything but meaning and punch those dense words out into the ether.) For both, use the Twitter convention of #tagging. Put the tag at the beginning of the comment (on Twitter you can also use it in the text). This is how I shall construct that filter. I hope. I know how to do it generally; trick will be to do it in WordPress.

I will usually throw up my own “submission” for the prompt. You can read it if you like. But I might say that if you want to participate, it might be better if you don’t read it until after you write. Then on the following Wednesday, I think I shall put up my favorites. I’m notoriously bad at picking a winner so there may be more than one. (Writing contests in my bookstore were a joke, with everybody going home with a trophy. There’s so much to love, you see.) Or maybe there will be none with nobody participating at all. That’s fine. While I do hope for participation, it’s enough for me to know that people are reading these words, that for this brief moment we are thinking convergently across time and space. That’s astonishing, is it not!

The Wednesday Word

for 9 June 2021

silence

You can respond in the comments below or make a Twitter post to @WednesdayWord2. Either way, begin your response with #silence. Be sure to include the pound sign — that’s what I’m going to look for in this filter script. So I don’t have to write a new one every week… and lose all the other responses when it changes.

Your response can be anything. Poetry makes me happy, but anything can be poetic and you needn’t even be limited to poetics. An observation, a story, a thought. In the spirit of word prompts, it’s best if you use the word; but I’m not even a stickler about that. Especially if you can convey the meaning without ever touching the word. In fact, in that case, I’d be rather impressed. (I might be able to get a good definition of words like blue out of this.)

If responding in Twitter, you are limited to the forms of Twitter. I would prefer that there be no threads because that becomes difficult to parse in the notifications in-box. So if you have something long, post it in the comments below. That said, please don’t go too long. Let’s keep it under 2000 words, shall we. I’m not going to count, but I’m also not promising to read a dissertation. Unless it’s really good! This is supposed to be fun for me, after all.

If I receive something noteworthy, I’ll post it next week. If not, well, that’s fine too. I know you all are busy. But if you’ve read this far, then I’ve made you think about… silence.

silence

the intricacies of silence
hold reason’s voice spellbound 
in all this viscous violence

no starlight here to ground
the ever-prickling wave
no radiant rollicking sound

just void-dark of the grave
and me with empty arms
and nothing left to save 

out beyond these simple charms
one for sorrow, two for joy
and lovely sunlight spawns alarms
when did we choose to but destroy

where did we lose our grand defiance
becoming naught but power’s toy

©Elizabeth Anker 2021