Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 36

The Marathon journey is in its third year. Put Pen to Paper is the current incarnation.

Poetry Marathon continued its trend of multi-day writing this week – I worked on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, September 4-6. I’ve had a lot going on with the holiday weekend, yard work (no more poison ivy problems, and believe me, I am paying attention to any vine I see), and a couple of art projects, including trying out some new raku clay. Anyway, I write as it fits in.

On September 4, I was at home, with a couple of companions. My cat:

PO 9-4-19 (2)

And how about this young groundhog, who came right up to the sliding glass door. These pictures are not the best, as he startled very easily, but I got a couple of him as he looked around the offerings near the house (he’s in the middle of the image in each picture):

Anyway, on this day, I worked on Little Vines.

Next day, September 5, I did some writing in no particular classification, and I began to work on some Snippets. Now, Snippets have not been on the menu for a while, but I got the idea to try a few. As you know, they take time, and you need to be in a calm mood to push around the little words and phrases that are cut from paper. I worked at home, because I need the surroundings to be calm, too – a swish of a breeze from a passerby and all the snippets become food for the vacuum cleaner.

On September 6, more snippets. I’ll show you in photos a run-through of the process I use.


First, gather up old books. Tear some pages from each one. Gather backgrounds for the snippets (here I’m using ATC-sized cards that I have painted). Get some scissors and glue. Choose a piece of cardboard or matboard or whatever to use as a work surface.

Cut phrases, sentences, or individual words from the book pages. This session I seemed to be more attracted to words, but other times it’s been phrases. Also, usually I perform this step before the Snippets session – cutting out the words beforehand saves time when you want to get to work.

Lay them out on the work surface. If any seem to go together, arrange them, but otherwise just set them into view.

PO 9-5-19 #34

Start to arrange them into Snippets. My rule is 3-4 lines, maximum. I have done longer collage poems but for Snippets, the idea is to stay short.

PO 9-5-19 #52

As you start to come up with lines, look for words in your inventory on the work surface or return to your pages for inspiration. Sometimes I get out other books for more pages, too.

PO 9-5-19 #43

When you have something you like, glue it down. Keep arranging and moving words around until you are tired of working. At this point I usually sweep all the words into a pile, so that the next session can start fresh and I am not bound by the constructions I made in this session that did not gel.

PO 9-5-19 #61


Sometimes I create a card or two with lines that I like but that did not get into a Snippet, or else I did a speed word-clean-up at the end of the session and created sentences or phrases from whatever I happened to pick up. I might use these in future Snippets or in some other way.

PO 9-6-19 #31

And there we have it. Here are some examples of my work this week.

This one just came out of my head. Thinking about crime novelists, I guess. And when they are not writing but instead going through everyday life like the rest of us.


Reviews of his work
almost always use the word
and they say
the gut-wrenching conclusion
of this gripping and original
on the edge of your seat
with every page of this thrilling
pulse-pounding non-stop gory

and this is the same fellow
who tells me today’s dinner
– a pleasantly-spiced chili
I made from my mother’s recipe
that she used to feed to us kids
when we were young –
I can’t swallow a bite
It’s just too intense for me.

Can you believe it?


Snippets. Here are a couple of favorites from the session.

in an unsteady voice
The man long alone
struggling through Small words.

the man,
and always too late


Little Vines.

I could
discredit quite a few stories
but your pale blue eyes stop me.

go ahead, push her
but of course there is no guarantee
the stairs will know what is expected of them

choose any word
stress any syllable
the secrets spill out

My idea
I saw it straying over to you
I jerked on its leash.

Even though I am forced to explain it
I try not to remember
what it feels like

hide here
lie flat in the cracks
of the broken window

the origami horror storybook
my favorite
the ogre in black tie and tails

though I knew the answer already
the ground is frozen
and the bees are asleep

run along clock
suit yourself
but I think I will end my journey here

a few tears
as I combed out the snarls
in my illusions

good fortune
dormant for years
blooming today

the idea of happiness
an out-of-practice smile

peel the mistake
away from the hands that made it
like removing an ill-fitting glove

pried an identity
from the bottom of the stack
shook out the wrinkles and tried it on

the whispering in the kitchen.
the crying in the bedroom.
I wish I hadn’t made up that story.

Thank you for reading!

14 thoughts on “Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 36

  1. I liked the image created, almost a tree, by the sets of words or phrases which got bundled up together in a ‘heap’.
    As always loved the snippets.
    Vines: g

  2. Thank you. I see the tree, and you know what, I also see a person with her hands out, dripping words or ideas or something. I like the idea of it being a tree, and ideas falling from it like leaves.

  3. I love the idea of peeling away the mistake from the hand that made it…if only!
    I am always collecting words and phrases and I put them in a plastic bin. I haven’t done a collage poem in awhile either, but you’re right, you need time and serenity. I’m not there at the moment. The Oracle will have to do. (K)

  4. Yet again the Little Vines have me thinking of them as incredibly pity short stories. I love the way they spark my imagination with all the narrative possibilities. I love that first poem too. I have known several people who have very outsized personalities but very bland tastes and this character made me think of them.

  5. Thank you. I think the Vines are exactly suited to the way my mind works and how I like to leave things – open-ended, (so I’m not trapped in an outcome, I hate the feeling of being constrained) and yet there is the comfort of an ending, if I want to choose or imagine one. I am so happy you see this the same way, – possibility and imagination sparking. That means a lot. And as for the author, I have marveled at how some people channel the whole of their being into one thing, and the rest of life seems to be a pale version of things for them.

  6. Nice to see your Groundhog…a rare sighting for me and none I’ve seen around here just many many rabbits. The contrast in your author vignette is striking…we form impressions based on scraps of information but often the real person is totally different. Also enjoyed the review of your snippet process…and f and h of the Vines- -especially h on telling about something you don’t want to feel.

  7. Thank you. Groundhogs are common here and we have a den that opens next to our hedge, been there forever, and generations of groundhogs have grown up there. I don’t like them, they + the deer make a food garden impossible, but they are interesting to watch and the young ones are cute, I will say that!

  8. Yes. To do so you need a 6 ft high fence at least and 8-10 feet would be better, as 6 ft won’t always do the job. I am thinking about joining a community garden and get a plot inside a fenced area if I ever want a garden again.

  9. I like deer, but they take what they want…so I am not sad they don’t drop by. I’ve had to increase my garden fences, concealments, untasty plants etc as the rabbit population has been flourishing…I sowed sunflower seeds three times before I managed to hide the tasty sprouts long enough for them to grow.

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