Writer and editor displays her work and interests

A Cool-Down Exercise

Thursday 16 January 2014 - Filed under Writing

Several years ago, a bunch of us participated in a workshop conducted by Margo LaGattuta. Here’s one of her great ideas, and the piece I generated in response to her prompt.

This idea is from poet Rick Jackson, Vermont College MFA Program. It is based on the idea that this series of opposites, a study in contrasts
(things both near and far, now and then, natural and mechanical, etc.) forces one to draw on the subconscious mind in order to resolve the dichotomies,
thereby generating unusual, startling metaphors one would not otherwise have considered. Write a work of your choice which incorporates:

  1. something from your refrigerator
  2. a historical, exotic location (foreign, not U.S.)
  3. an animal not of this continent
  4. some kind of downtown shop or store (in an older part of town)
  5. a foreign place not associated with the above foreign place
  6. a reference to biology or chemistry
  7. a mythological character
  8. a toy you used to play with
  9. something mechanical—an engine, electric motor, etc.
  10. a body part

Cold and Far Away
Marilyn Brandt Smith

Tomatoes, celery, onions,
Retrieved to relieve my Amana
Of last week’s leftovers;
Pulse-blending they send Me scampering,
My hand in the cabinet,
For those seasonings and herbs
I found in the Falklands
On my cruise to Antarctica.

Not the Antarctica of 1912
And the race to the South Pole.
Scott’s poor ponies were sacrificed for food;
Amundsen’s Lapland sled dogs
Helped him find the pole first.

I never knew much about that continent
Until my mother gave me
A family of toy penguins
She found on sale at Sears.
I was curious, started reading.

I should look for unusual animals
To tease my granddaughters curiosity;
A sea lion, a chimpanzee, maybe even a unicorn?
Kandace already loves “The Lion King.”

Ah! My Gazpacho is ready;
Now where did I put those croutons with garlic?

2014-01-16  »  Marilyn Brandt Smith


  1. Abbie Taylor
    22 January 2014 @ 5:30 pm

    This is interesting. I was also in that class with you and Margo and remember the exercise but don’t remember what I wrote. I’m sure it’s somewhere on my computer. I’ll have to look.