Now this little ditty goes right along with this week’s article about inner critics, those misguided cowgirls of the heart. They need some wrangling & a hefty dose of attention but other than that, they’re not too much trouble. Just keep them off your horse if you know what I mean.
Imagine two or more sides of yourself as distinct characters, each with reasons to be angry at and to love or need one of the other part(s). Write a poem or short fiction piece in sections where each speaks or writes a letter to the other, letting tension (anger, bewilderment, perhaps) and resolution (reconciliation, appreciation, full-blown affection) provide direction and a sense of discovery. Remember to treat each voice as a character, i.e., to see parts of yourself as distinct characters, which will give you freedom to invent, exaggerate, and play with material that could otherwise bog down in muddy introspection. You can have one side write a letter to the other and have the other answer, or you could have several voices speak one at a time, maybe have a kind of round table discussion.
This is an exercise that lets your mythologize yourself a little, which is powerful and often healing, an exercise not just in voice, narration, and writing but in knowing the self a little better.
Prompt taken from Leslie Ullman’s essay in The Practice of Poetry