"Stay alive, refreshed in language! Listen to little toddlers bopping metaphors around the room like balloons. Let language zip and lean, sound can lead you, be surprised as you are writing. I play with words every day and I am going to play right now. It takes me where I need to go, into the real content, and into serious hard places, too. Experimenting means anything goes. We need to keep doing that on our pages if they are to keep glittering and waking us up."
~ Naomi Shihab Nye
Don't you just love that quote? Naomi Shihab Nye is a brilliant wordsmith. "Famous" is one of my favorite contemporary poems. In fact, I used it in a post a couple of years ago on my own blog HERE.
Ralph Fletcher is one of my favorite writing gurus, and I have never mentioned him here at Project Mayhem. In addition to being a wealth of writing and writing-teacher info, he is also a collector of words and phrases. When he hears something interesting or memorable, wherever he is, he writes it down and adds it to his collection. One of my favorites I found in his book, Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft that Sparks Writing. He overheard a three-year-old girl on a tricycle yell to her father on a park bench, "You stay with your sun, Daddy. I'll ride with my wind."
Other nuggets from his collection include:
- Overheard at a bar: "Mothers raise their daughters and love their sons."
- His brother: "A knife will cut you until it earns your respect."
- His son: "Daddy, could you really get in a barrel and go over Viagara falls?"
- Shared with him by a 5th grade teacher about a student: "There is April the month, and there is April Ham Lincoln."
Don't be afraid to eavesdrop, collecting nuggets like these ones for your own "collection". Then, when the language play in your MS feels a little dull, you'll have a fun source of inspiration. And I recommend anything and everything written by Ralph Fletcher. He is my greatest source of writing wisdom and inspiration!
Do you have any fun nuggets to share?