Exercise in Writing...and Revising

For A View from the Humanities
(February 3, 2006)

Participants were given index cards reading "Let me not....", were asked to complete the phrase, and to pass the card to the right.

Each one was asked to write a second sentence on this card, then pass it back to the left.

Everyone read what their neighbor had written on "their" card, and wrote a third sentence.

We then performed an exercise in reading, and witnessed another exercise in revising,
before passing our cards a second time to the right, and adding a fourth line to the "poem" our neighbor had begun.

Here are the poems.

What came out of this exercise?

(In particular: how responsive did you find yourself to what was being written and said around you? Did you write in a mode that was "Shakespearean" (i.e., "not altering when you alteration found") or "Rortian" (that is, "adjusting your course," making "fine attunements" as you "attended" to others' writing and conversation)?

Let me not be too old.
Let me not stop growing.
Let me stand still.

Let me not waste time.
Let me, rather, revel in it.
I am a Buddhist!
I am...

Let me not proceed blindly.
Let me leap off the cliff.
But let me not fall.
Let me catch you!

Let me not forget what it's like to be a child, and have fun in childlike ways.
And let me hope to survive.
So I'm hoping for the best of both worlds...wisdom and innoncence.
Let me yield not to temptation.

Let me not assume more than I know.
Let me not forget.
Knowing is an active form of forgetting.
That makes me feel better.

Let me not become complacent.
Without good reason.
Or emotion.

Let me not be asked to do this.
Unless there is a good reason.
Yours not to reason why, yours but to do or die.

Let me not fall on my head.
Lest I lose my way,
Undertake too much,
And fall on my head.

Let me not give in to the cynicism that rules me.
Rather let me hope this moment passes
...and yields productive insights.

Let me not give in to my initial compulsion
To scream in frustration.
Just let it go for now.
Go with the flow.

Let me not claim to speak for God.
Because I don't really know who or what God is.
GW doesn't think that way.
God help HIM!

Let me not spend too much time worrying.
It's a nice warm day.
Relaxation is crucial to happiness.
Appropriate for people on leave--or retired.

Let me not stop
Having fun in life
With Anne.
Laughing is good for the soul.

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