Writing Prompt at the Villa

We did one of my favorite writing prompts in class this morning, based on this poem:

by Elizabeth Carlson

I am falling in love
with my imperfections
The way I never get the sink really clean,
forget to check my oil,
lose my car in parking lots,
miss appointments I have written down,
am just a little late.

I am learning to love
the small bumps on my face
the big bump of my nose,
my hairless scalp,
chipped nail polish,
toes that overlap.
Learning to love
the open-ended mystery
of not knowing why

I am learning to fail
to make lists,
use my time wisely,
read the books I should.

Instead I practice inconsistency,
irrationality, forgetfulness.

Probably I should
hang my clothes neatly in the closet
all the shirts together, then the pants,
send Christmas cards, or better yet
a letter telling of
my perfect family

But I’d rather waste time
listening to the rain,
or lying underneath my cat
learning to purr.

I used to fill every empty moment
with something I could
cross off later.

Perfect was
the laundry done and folded
all my papers graded
the whole truth and nothing but

Now the empty mind is what I seek
the formless shape
the strange off center
sometimes fictional

from Collected Poems, Elizabeth Carlson

PROMPT: Write an ode, a love song to your imperfections. No self-criticism or judgment allowed. Revel in your imperfections, your messy piles, your unfinished lists, that self-improvement program that never quite got off the ground.

Why don’t you give it a try and post your response below?

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