Poet and fellow Whidbey Writers Workshop alum Caleb Barber probably offered me valuable nuggets of insight in the one poetry class we shared. Something about rhythm and dactyls and how everyone and their dental hygienist writes poems about herons. It’s hazy. What I remember clearly, because it’s one of the coolest things I can imagine (up there with having tea and cupcakes at the White House with Michelle Obama): Caleb’s the first person to tell me about a zombie 5K called Run For Your Lives, where if you volunteer to be a zombie, you can race the obstacle course for a discount in one of the three shifts. That way, you get the zombie experience from both ends of the food chain.
Caleb also told me that if I wanted to truly see weird, I should shop at Walmart after midnight. Which brings us to today’s writing prompt.
Choose one of the following:
A. Do something you would not normally do, or go somewhere you would not normally go. Go. Try it. Write about your experiences. (Once when I partook of this exercise, I went to a Chuck E Cheese restaurant by myself at lunchtime on a Friday. I do not have children.)
B. Or, alter the perception of a familiar place by putting yourself in that place at a strange time in a strange state of mind. (Drunk in church is probably not a good idea. Late-night Walmart shopping could be.) I recommend reading Pico Iyer’s “Nightwalking” or “In the Realm of Jetlag,” an adaptation of the essay that appeared in the New York Times Magazine: “Embracing the traveler’s first rule — everything is interesting if you look at it with the right eyes — I use the sleeplessness to try to see a world, a self, I would never see otherwise.”