Exquisite Corpse is a favorite game I like to play with a group to get ideas flowing or to break up group think. In this case, I wanted us to think about our sources– about the creative work of other people that hangs out in our heads– without resorting to the kind of lists that we tend to automatically self sensor. For example, I know that movies and movie lines feed my creative energy and often color my first response to situations, but I probably wouldn’t own up to Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, Val Kilmer in Real Genius, and Madeline Kahn in pretty much anything as being foundational to my response to most rhetorical situations if asked in a job interview. Still, knowing our sources, what we gravitate toward and imitate is important to thinking about ourselves as professional writers.
Here were the rules for our game: Begin with a quote, lyric, line from a poem, a movie line, anything written by someone else that resonates with you. We passed around our “poems” adding lines, always with the requirement that the words be from other sources. Here are a few of my favorites. I’ve given them Roman numerals instead of titles.
“To seek beauty is human. To be hurt is human. To destroy is also human.”
“Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody but unbowed.”
I came, I saw, I conquered.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
To live would be a grand adventure.
To die would be the next great adventure.
Life is something worth gambling for
I’m your Huckleberry
And you are my Finn.
There’s a snake in my boot
These boots are made for walking
Walking on this road of life
Cuz they know & so do I, the High Road is hard to find.
I love you without problems or pride
I love you until the end of time.
If you’re lost you can look & you will find me. Time after time.
What time is it? SUMMERTIME
Summertime and the living is easy
“And miles to go before I sleep.”
Oh the places I’ll go
I think I’ll go to BOSTON
I bet this road will take me outta here.
All roads lead to Rome.
Take the road less traveled.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
The only thing to fear is fear itself.
What we fear is that we know nothing.