Re-Imagining a Letter
This is the eighteenth installment of The Curious Creative, weekly 10-minute writing exercises for busy individuals interested in exploring their creativity. For the complete rationale, click here.
Letters of Note is a great website that attempts “to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” Each week, they update their site with a new letter by all sorts of people, from Anne Frank to Martin Scorsese.
This week, we’ll play around with one of the letters featured on the site. You’ll produce a kind of found poetry or manipulation poetry. Having the restrictions of already written content in place sometimes produces really creative results.
1. Visit http://www.lettersofnote.com, and click the bottom left link, “RANDOM LETTER. Click Here!” View the letter and related images it produces for you.
I just did it, and got a letter written by the woman from that famous photo of the sailor kissing a random nurse in the middle of Times Square celebrating the end of WWII.
2. After the read it, fill in the blanks of this summary sentence: This letter is from _________ to _____________; the purpose of the letter is to ____________________.
For my example: This letter is from the nurse who was the subject of a famous photo celebrating the surrender of Japan in WWII to the photographer of that photo; the purpose of the letter is to reveal her identity and obtain a print of the picture 34 years after it was taken.
3. Now re-imagine the purpose part of the summary sentence to include a new idea in the blank.
For my example: … the purpose is to confess her undying love for the sailor she has never been able to forget.
4. Now re-write the letter, using as much or as little of it, adding and taking away whatever you wish, to make the letter fit your newly imagined purpose.
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