I just got back from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where I had an amazing time with their First Wave program. We talked a lot about strategies about writing about traumatic events that have happened in your life. One of the main things that I think is really freeing in writing about trauma is being able to be self reflective through writing, and then being able to create a certain amount of distance between yourself and what you are writing. One of the best ways of doing that is through elements of humor, self-mockery, or personification.
Here is the writing prompt that we did:
1. Make a list of your weaknesses. Make a list of your strengths
2. Make a list of animals, be as descriptive as you possibly can be.
3. Assign each animal a furniture. Describe the furniture object, giving it animal descriptions.
6. Your planet has been moved to Mars. Make it evolve due to environment. Assign it a new trait that it needs in order to survive. What does it look like now?
7. Assign your animal to one of your weaknesses.
8. Read The Hindsight Octopus by Franny Choi:
9. Write your own poem personifying your weakness as an animal, building off the furniture or Mars descriptors.