Creative Exercise #5


This exercise requires you write a title at the top of your page, and then create a list down to the bottom of the page. You may find the beginnings of a poem, or a wonderful line, in some of your lists. Here are some examples:

  • Feeling tired
  • Not having enough time
  • Being misunderstood
  • Not able to speak clearly
  • Having a disagreement
  • Being late
  • Feeling incompetent
  • Feeling depressed


  • The first time…I was scared when home alone;
  • First time I felt comfortable crying in public;
  • First time we kissed;
  • First time we kissed and it meant something;
  • First apartment, the craziness;
  • First time I said, “I love you;'
  • First time someone told me “I love you;'
  • First pair of glasses, with the black frames;
  • First hangover…oh, yeah…

Make a list of fears, losses, happy memories, accomplishments, dreams–whatever you can think of. Take some of the ideas from these lists, and see if you can expand upon them. Example: “Feeling tired, like an ant trying to get somewhere with a rock in its.' Or, “Incompetent feels like a fish in a bowl, always swimming, but hitting nothing but glass.'

All of these lists are opportunities for a poem.

Be sure to also comment on a classmate's post for full credit.

28 thoughts on “Creative Exercise #5

  1. Andrew Lange

    Ridculous Ideas (that never actually happened):

    -Buying the town of Harmony, CA (it WAS for sale!)

    -Having a rabbit (Yeah, that just never happened)

    -Growing marijuana (LEGALLY, mind you) as a cash crop (yeah, that never happened either, mind you)

    -Commercially growing lettuce (that idea also flopped)

    -Commercially growing kitchen herbs (gave up on the idea of growing anything by this point)

    -Spending a summer on Floatsam Island, AK (Had no house to rent at the time)

    -Living in the old saltery in the back of Port Conclusion, AK (neat spot, very secluded, get away from it all, as if the nearest town of Port Alexander, AK, population 50, wasn’t rural enough)

    -Daily driving a 50 year old Army ‘Deuce and a Half’. (In the winter. In Alaska. In Fairbanks. On a long distance commute. Out to Pleasant Valley every day and out to Delta Junction on weekends).

    -Buying a dry cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska, and having a former roommate put in a bathroom (industrious roommate)

    -House hunted some pretty bizarre places around Fairbanks with said roommate or my dad (et al the converted hangar).

  2. Aubri Stogsdill

    Things that cause a sigh of relief

    -When plans you didn’t want to do get canceled (there weren’t any words to say anyway, nothing new)
    -When you finally finish that thing that you’ve been putting off (the elephant’s eyes finally shut, he leaves the room, along with his stench)
    -When someone else does the dishes for you (prune hands, soggy skin, dry)
    -When you check your bank account and there’s actually more money in there than you thought (swimming in it as a fish through the ocean)
    -When you arrive home and everyone else is done (silence is the only friend that never asks, only gives)
    -When you finally get your test grades back (Not failing… not falling.. passing through high above, yet under the radar)
    -When they don’t ask about that terrible situation that you really don’t want to talk about (expected disruption avoided– they saw it in my eyes)
    -When he does remember who you are (You stood out in his mind like a tree in a desert)
    -When you get that hug you’ve desperately needed all day (endorphins rush through your body, tight squeeze, and release. Smile.)
    -When the questions are finally answered (mind is silenced, all is still, calm, ease)
    -When a reply text is finally after a risky message was sent (underwater, after three days, gasp, I can breathe again)

    1. Monica Gallagher

      I really like your list. Everything inside the parenthesis is my favorite part, definitely gave me some visualizations of what you were going through. It’s very relatable, the sigh of relief. Great Idea. A couple of them made me laugh for no reason in particular, just funny words. “Prune hands”. “Silence is the only friend that never asks, only gives”, is a great line, I would keep that one in a safe place and use it later. “You stood out in his mind like a tree in a desert”!, that one, got me. Makes me feel my heart. You’ve got some great material here, I enjoyed it!

      1. Katherine Whelchel

        This is great! So descriptive and full of power. I feel like I’m given a look into your mind with each addition to your list. Your words flow and move like water!

    2. Ben Knapp

      I really enjoyed reading you list! I think that “Sighs of relief” is something we can all connect with, and I have experienced pretty much everything on your list, so I know what you mean when you talk about them.

  3. Monica Gallagher

    Heavy led feet,
    Sleepy Sally,
    On Empty.

    Surrounded bog,

    Daydreams drowned,
    Foggy flood,
    Clouded mess,
    The Gray,
    Sound of Silence,

    Sleep Walking,
    Tears internal,
    Hopeless tasks,

  4. Katherine Whelchel

    Family Memories
    – Running through the forest pretending to be a Navaho princess
    – My sister teaching me how to weave flowers crowns out of dandelions
    – Putting on my favorite red boots that instantly gave me extra sass powers
    – Waking up to my mother’s singing
    – Having devotionals on the couch, while snuggled in between my older sister and brother like the marshmallow in a s’more
    – Going down to the river to barbeque and sit in the freezing water
    – Sledding down the jeep trail, attempting to make the turns without falling off your sled
    – Spending time in my dad’s office, talking and crying tears of relief
    – My patient father teaching me how to tie my shoes
    – Going on a family four-wheeler ride through the forest
    – Cutting, hauling, and stacking firewood for the winter
    – Jumping on the trampoline with my siblings as the sun sets
    – Braking the trampoline with my siblings, and crying for about an hour
    – Pretending to be snow leopards on our hands and knees
    – Persuading my mom to help my siblings and I build a tree fort
    – Finally finishing the fort three years later after many bee stings and sore thumbs
    – Hiding in the forest, waiting for company to come down our driveway so we could chase them
    – Creating a club of secret agents, my sister being the leader, my brother the second in command, and me being the special unit agent.
    – Playing ‘capture the flag’, and always being defeated by my brother
    – Dressing up as Ariel and being told I was the most beautiful princess by buzz lightyear (my brother)
    – Laying on my mother’s lap as she rubs my head
    – Rubbing my dad’s feet after his hard day at work
    – Going to Hilltop truck stop with my dad and getting special lollipops that I would turn into a superhero
    – Walking around Duffy Loop with my mom and sister, talking about life and Christ
    – Eating the head off of every one of my siblings’ peeps
    – Sitting in my crib while my brother sings my lullabies
    – Always having the best hair because of my sister (she ALWAYS want to braid it)
    – The yearly Easter and Valentine’s day treasure hunts created by my mother
    – Watching ‘Sabrina’ over and over because it’s my father’s favorite movie
    – Forcing my family to watch ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ every single day
    – Playing Barbie’s with my sister and always forgetting that the plastic buns were in the tiny fake oven
    – Falling asleep next to my brother and sister during our monthly ‘pow wow’s
    – Walking through stores while holding onto the loop on my dad’s Car harts
    – Sleeping in between my parents when my croup would get so bad I couldn’t breathe
    – Family group hugs
    – Stealing sips of my dad’s coffee

    1. Caitlyn Williams

      Hey Katherine! I love your list; it sounds like you have some pretty amazing memories! I remember playing capture the flag, especially in summer!

  5. Caitlyn Williams

    Living List

    Over excited- It is Friday and I am off work
    On my way home-I am tired but happy
    At home- the exhaustion button has set; I am left on the bed for an hour (happily)
    On the river- I am calmed; nothing disturbs me
    Taking a ride- I enjoy these solitary moments; I am proud, but I am humble
    On the phone- I am insecure about my voice
    But on the phone- I hear my close friends voice, and I love theirs, so I choose to love mine too
    Back at work- I am in a hurry, kids need help
    In the classroom- I am a guide, these kids can’t give up
    During lunch- I am a tiger, I feast and I growl; Hunger consumes me
    After lunch- I am satisfied; energy sufficient-battery recharged
    During work- I am slightly discouraged, but I will not let myself give up on these kids
    After a day’s work- I am tired but I am chipper (Another day another dollar)
    Reading a book- I am lost in the author’s work; lost meaning I am captivated
    Typing- I am fidgety; I catch my fingers searching for the right key (I can’t wait till I am fluent)
    Drinking water- I am clean, refreshed and ready for whatever comes next.
    Having coffee- I am alive for another day; the aroma soothes me
    Drinking tea- I catch myself with a slight british accent; I am prim and proper
    Sipping Soda- I am guilty; fizzy drinks should not have befriended me.
    Washing up- As I wash off the day’s grime, I wash off the day’s negativity
    Falling asleep- I find myself greeting sleep because sleep feels like a long lost friend <3
    Waking up- I long to stay in bed; bed means rest, and I need more time to rest
    But after I am awake- I am preparing for what lies ahead; praying for another good day
    Visiting with friends- We are playing cards, and I am winning (One can only wish)
    Crashed- It is Valentine’s Day; the kids are having a wonderful time (sugar, sugar, sugar)
    Over excited- It’s almost Friday, just a few more days until the weekend
    Doing homework- I am content,this is a good space to be in; not too bored not too stressed
    Intelligence and captivation surround me as I teach myself subjects I have an interest in

    Living List

    1. Aundrea Pierce


      I despise my voice. I sound like a “nerdy boy” just give me a call sometime to verify! I enjoyed reading a day in the mind of a teacher. I like how you described typing, that’s currently my struggle. You would think after years of typing we would have caught on by now. Every morning I have to smell my coffee; it’s like my other senses need to awaken as well. How come you didn’t write anything about losing yourself in velvety, milk chocolatey goodness!? I’m sure as lovely as a teacher you sound; you must have received a few goodies for Valentines Day.

  6. Aundrea Pierce

    Pesky Flies
    -Loud noises (the obnoxious vibration surprising my eardrum)
    -Dry Hands or Feet (The cracks and pores in my skin beg with thirst)
    -Not able to form my thoughts into words (I swear I’m smart, you gotta believe me)
    -Aunt Flow (7 days out of every month an emotional demon is summoned)
    -Running late (the pounding of your heart racing ahead of you)
    -Anxiety (the tight grip it has around my lungs, I can’t catch my breath)

    The small things
    -The feeling of freedom after dropping my kids off at school (A kid in a candy store, be home before curfew!)
    -The first sip of beer before I give the bottle to my husband (I’m so worth it)
    -The smell of fresh cut wood (sparks memories of dad and grounds me)
    -Watching my son pedal his heart out on his bike (stay young and innocent)
    -Locking eyes with a baby (you are special and so am I)
    -The view of my fresh cut yard (productive and accomplished)
    -Witnessing an act of kindness (faith in humanity)
    -Being safely hugged by your blanket on the couch (let your flaws shine in the comfort of your home)
    -The feeling you get walking out of church (a bath for your soul)
    -A smile from a stranger (I’m not invisible!)
    -The longing gaze from a puppy (the heart wrenching connection)
    -When nana calls (relax you’re going to take a break and reflect with your best friend)

    1. Michelle Cordova

      I can completely relate to “the small things.” I had a difficult time with this assignment, but I feel like you were able to nail it with ease! From dropping the kids off at school and feeling a sense of freedom (Yes!), to talking with your best friend, something so easily taken for granted, that makes us feel better. Great job!

  7. Michelle Cordova

    Moving List

    Eight moves in ten years- Am I running away or chasing dreams..
    Pack brown boxes- of every shape and size in order to not leave a piece of me behind
    Organize the car- even here, everything has a place
    Clean my house- that’s no longer my home, but a place for new memories- no longer my own
    Leave friends- pick my aching heart up off of the floor.. come on, Michelle, you’ve done this before
    Drive- back roads full of wildlife, yet stillness surrounds me- aside from my children who want to be free
    Hotels- are a safe place, night after night- resting our heads, fixing our sight
    Restaurants- fuel our bodies, if only for a moment- but breathe life into our babies, our travel opponents
    Sight-seeing- brings joy and fresh air, a moment to pause and be thankful, a reason to care
    Home again- A new adventure, same me… simultaneously running away while chasing dreams..

    1. Naimy Schommer

      I like how your list makes me want to ask questions about the story it implies. There’s poetic material here–stories of moving and of a mobile life. I like the mystery.

  8. Naimy Schommer

    Novels I haven’t read yet:

    1. Black, Red, White, Green – Ted Dekker
    2. The Handmaiden’s Tale – Margret Atwood
    3. The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
    4. The Heroine’s Journey – Maureen Murdock
    5. The Paul Street Boys – Molnar Ferenc
    6. 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
    7. North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
    8. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe – Carson McCullers
    9. The Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
    10. The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
    11. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
    12. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi
    13. Why We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
    14. The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
    15. The Waves – Virginia Woolf
    16. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    17. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
    18. Death of a Salesmen – Arthur Miller
    19. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
    20. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    21. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
    22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Díaz
    23. The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe
    24. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
    25. Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews

  9. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    Things That Bring Joy-
    -Long car rides with the windows down in the summer.
    -A good book.
    -Getting an A on a test you studied hard for.
    -Getting what you worked hard for.
    -Beach trips
    -Waking up beside your significant other.
    -Girl Scout cookies
    -Having a family barbeque and seeing all your loved ones.
    -Driving the Alaska Highway and getting to see the beautiful scenery
    -Waking up to the sun peeking through your curtains on a summer day.
    -Dressing up and going dancing with all your friends on a Saturday night.
    -Taking a spontaneous vacation with someone you love (or by yourself).
    -A fresh coffee after pulling an all-nighter.
    -Sleeping in after waking up early every day throughout the week.
    -Creating a good playlist for your car ride.
    -Getting accepted into your dream college.
    -Going to a trampoline park and letting the kid in you come out.
    -Watching younger kids play in the snow.
    -Visiting family after not seeing them for months on end.

    1. Jessica Honebein

      Sierra I totally agree with you on all of these! I think that they could make good poem topics and some could be super easy to expand on. I like how you have variety of larger life aspects like getting accepted into a college of your dream, but also smaller aspects like girl scout cookies!

    2. Corbin Knapp

      Wow, you have great starters for many poems in that list! I can think of a poem for Girl Scout cookies right now! I hope you get a lot of great poems out of your list and I can’t wait to see how you put this into your future poetry!

  10. Mekayla

    Life Honey

    The smell of rain,
    A light breeze,
    Watching the sun rise,
    Warm kisses,
    Furry kitten cuddles,
    Wet paint on a canvas,
    A toasted bagel,
    A cozy sweater,
    My dog’s eyes,
    The sound of laughter,
    Steaming coffee,
    Snowflakes falling,
    Wakes on a river,
    The sound of trees,
    Birds singing,
    Sunny roadtrips,
    Worn hiking boots,
    A warm bed,
    A good book,
    Coconut body butter,
    Binge-watching Sitcoms,
    Passionate discussion,
    A glass of wine,
    Completing a “To-Do” list,
    Christmas lights in June,
    Breathtaking views,
    A lovely poem.

    1. T Gordon

      Hi Mekayla, I loved your list! Either you and I have a lot in common, or these just happen to be things that most people can get behind. You made me long for so many of these things– in particular, a sunny roadtrip! This should be a reminder for us to not take these precious things for granted. I think you’ve got lots of good material here for writing poetry, and you made me smile and gave lots of nostalgia.

  11. Jessica Honebein

    Jessica Honebein- Creative Exercise #5

    Dreams for the future…

    -Getting a college degree (Finally graduating and feeling the bricks of books fall off my shoulders)
    -Starting first job after getting a degree (The jitters and excitement crowd my body like a child eating their first piece of candy as I get hired on my first “grown up” job)
    -Getting married and starting a family (Sharing a life with many and having to tend to more than just yourself, helping to better one another)
    -Go on a road trip throughout the United States (Explore, bring all the adventure to the table)
    -Plant a garden (grow something from scratch)
    -Learn how to play the guitar
    -Own fewer items but more of what I truly love (minimalistic ideals)
    -Mend the broken relationships between me and family member(s)
    -Take one photo a day for a year, and make a album out of them (memories last a lifetime)
    -Live by the beach
    -Meditate everyday
    -Own my own house
    -Go on a vacation every year

  12. Jessica Honebein

    Jessica Honebein- Creative Exercise #5

    Dreams for the future…

    -Getting a college degree (Finally graduating and feeling the bricks of books fall off my shoulders)
    -Starting first job after getting a degree (The jitters and excitement crowd my body like a child eating their first piece of candy as I get hired on my first “grown up” job)
    -Getting married and starting a family (Sharing a life with many and having to tend to more than just yourself, helping to better one another)
    -Go on a road trip throughout the United States (Explore, bring all the adventure to the table)
    -Plant a garden (grow something from scratch)
    -Learn how to play the guitar
    -Own fewer items but more of what I truly love (minimalistic ideals)
    -Mend the broken relationships between me and family member(s)
    -Take one photo a day for a year, and make a album out of them (memories last a lifetime)
    -Live by the beach
    -Meditate everyday
    -Own my own house one day (then I won’t have to rent)
    – Go on vacation once a year

  13. Leah Rego

    Canine connections
    1. Sleeping with Lady as a pillow
    2. Meeting Brad for the first time, huge feet and long whiskers
    3. Buttons curled up to sleep
    4. Sharayah as a puppy, very tiny, bottle feeding
    5. Sharayah big dog, best friend
    6. Salome such a surprise, a scared girl
    7. Salome lots of puppies
    8. Shnookums, black and white bundle of energy
    9. Shiloh cute white bundle of fluff
    10. Socrates, sweet baby, died too young
    11. Dubhlainn rescued Rottie
    12. Dubhlainn baby’s best friend
    13. Chloe, timid energetic silver
    14. Chloe baby’s guard
    15. Teddy, talkative and loving

    Mommy moments
    1. Firecracker, Dark haired darling, loud, boisterous
    2. Hummingbird, precocious, loves animals and singing
    3. Little angel, new and different experiences
    4. The boy, sharing motherhood

  14. Corbin Knapp

    Things That I Will Never Do:

    Go around the World (I might get lost!)

    Buy a bookstore (Where would I get the money?)

    Earn a million dollars (What would I do with that much money?)

    Have a pet monkey (Is that even legal?)

    Become a comedian (Naaahhh, I’m not funny enough.)

    Become a politician (That would be a nightmare!)

    Climb a cliff face (Unless it was really small.)

    Have an idea that lasts (What was I thinking about?)

    Remember everything. (How would I sort through the cluttered desk of my mind?)

    Read all the books in the library (I probably won’t live long enough for that)

    Go skydiving (I would probably pass out.)

    Go to the Olympics (I don’t have that kind of money or time.)

    Be a police officer (I’d feel bad about giving people tickets.)

    Go to all the countries around the world (It would take me a lifetime!)

    Become a professional musician (I can’t sing, or play an instrument that well either.)

    Have a desk job (I would spend my time looking at the clock, then work for a little bit, then look at the clock.)

    Eat at Pizza Hut (Why even explain?)

    Stop exercising (What is wrong with me!)

    Climb Everest (Too high!)

    Climb Denali (Same reason!)

    Live anywhere besides Alaska (It would be too different)

    Make a list about what I will never do (Oh wait………)

  15. Ben Knapp

    Things that make me happy:
    – Coming home after a long day and reading the cartoons in the paper.
    – My cats
    – Having a cat curled up on my lap
    – Petting a cat as I sit and read the paper
    – My dog
    – My dog lying on my foot as I sit on the couch
    – Weekends that I spend actually getting things done
    – Weekends that I waste not getting things done
    – Building models
    – Painting models
    – Watching painting tutorials
    – Skiing
    – Visiting the local comic shop
    – Playing wargames
    – Winning at wargames
    – Losing at wargames
    – Building terrain for wargames
    – Playing Dungeons and Dragons
    – Drawing
    – Thinking of a backstory for the things that I draw
    – Expanding on that backstory with more drawings
    – Showing my brother what I have drawn
    – Laughing with my brother as he points out my mistakes
    – Reading

  16. T Gordon

    When I Reflect On Alaska:

    Wild, roaring rivers
    Unpredictable weather
    Space to reflect
    I will never see all sides of it
    Young mountain ranges
    Wildlife scattered in between
    Stories upon stories
    Topography and time
    Life and death right in front of your eyes
    Extreme behaviors of the Sun
    Survival of the fittest
    Ranging from the rough-opened Arctic to burgeoning rainforests
    Tough people, fragile land
    So still in the hills of this valley
    I want to see every inch
    I will savor this land forever
    Beauty in all seasons
    I wish I were as wild and free as the wildlife that I see
    There are never enough windows in a home
    We live a life of luxury in a land of uncertainty and change
    So vulnerable to the natural forces
    We are only really a few cords of wood away from a deathly chill
    But we will make it in this strange land as others have
    Forever a home you’ll find if you can feel at peace with the wild world
    Even the trees must bend with the weight
    I want to be strong enough to survive here without the human inventions
    It would be a tragedy to see this land urbanized
    Promise of new growth peeks out between the burnt patches
    I know I won’t live a lifetime here without some material loss
    The land is too strong, the weather too tough
    I wonder how long Alaska has been beautiful
    Never have I had a drive so breathtaking
    Every inch longs to divulge a mystery
    I will use my science to discover what I can
    And poetry to blindly love the rest
    And imagine the unseen
    Wildflowers can grow in glacial till
    Proof that I must move on from all hurt
    And appreciate what I am given
    The long wait until Breakup
    I hope it remains open and beautiful forever

  17. Cassidy Kramer

    What I am thankful for-

    My mom- guides me

    My dad- teaches me

    My sisters- inspire me

    My brothers- give me something to inspire

    My dog- helps me when I am lonely

    A home- gives me a place to call “home” (and keeps me warm)

    God- gives me hope

    Love- gives me God

    Fear- keeps me away from the hurt

    Hurt- keeps me in reality

    Food- I just love food.

    Volleyball- keeps me in shape with all the food I eat

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