Friday, May 26, 2023

Friday Writings #78: Artificial Intelligence


Dear Wordsmiths, let’s get serious!

The internet, as we know, is a mixed blessing – as are its child, social media and its parent, digital technology. Renowned thinker Naomi Klein recently published an alarming look at the latest development, AI, which it seems has the capacity to make everything much, much worse whilst being claimed to make everything much, much better.

Read this, please!
Stop and do it now. (Yes it’s longish, but important.)

Did that leave you reeling about the ramifications for artists, amongst the general horror? It certainly is disconcerting and almost (almost!) makes me glad to be getting old and closer to death.


Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash.


And what can we little people do about it anyway, in the face of such huge, powerful forces? How can we word artists protect our creative expressions in an environment where wholesale theft seems to happen with impunity?

There are a number of possible answers to that, some of which are suggested in the article I’ve asked you to read. Another thing that occurs to me is that this may be, even more than ever, the age of the blogging author.

Yes, our words may get stolen and served up in distorted form, or even exactly as written, via AI, and credited to others – but here they are on our blogs, all the same, and the posts are dated. Furthermore, our readers (including each other) won’t give a damn about how and where else they may appear, because this is where they are used to finding and reading us.

I think it’s important to keep producing our original content even if it may then be taken and misused. I think it will become even more precious if it becomes comparatively rare. 

I don’t know what will happen to the production and consumption of books if AI forges ahead as feared. Some of us, me included, like to get our writing out there that way too, as well as to read books by others. I expect we’ll still be able to do that for a while. But if not, if things really go downhill very fast, if people stop buying books, or can’t trust what they are buying, still our little blogs will attract those who enjoy them already as well as those who’ll want to read for free in the projected age of more and more exorbitant prices. 

It’s all speculative of course at this stage. It just seems to me very important that we keep right on doing what we’re doing. And if we only reach a few among the millions? I remember, when I started making poems and wanting to communicate them, thinking that if even one person was reached, and moved, by one poem of mine, it would all be worthwhile. I bet you all had similar thoughts once upon a time. We’re doing a lot better than that, as it happens. So – onward and upward, my friends!

After that rant, of course your optional prompt this week is to write something – anything – on the subject of AI.

As always, we ask for one post per person, maximum word number (excluding title) 369, and you may give us poetry or prose, new or old, responding to the prompt or not.

Have fun!

Next week, Magaly will ask us to write poetry or prose inspired by an unfinished project.



Hopefully, the performing arts are still safe. I can't see AI managing to produce anything to rival this! Farewell to one of the great keepers-on-going, in more reflective mood than we might remember, yet powerful as ever.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Friday Writings #77: The DJ Sucks


Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! We all have songs we adore, the ones that remind us of good times, or even shake us out of bad moods. For today’s optional prompt I want you to forget all those. I would like you to shape your words around lyrics from a song you hate. Poetry and prose are both welcome, as are fiction and non-fiction. Please limit yourself to 369 words or fewer and one entry per person.

I actually rather like this song. It's perfect for the theme.

Next week, Rosemary will ask us to write something – anything – on the subject of AI.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Friday Writings #76: To-Do Lists

According to Jon Edgell, “[Cats] are blissfully unaware that they have only a finite time in which to finish their ‘to do’ list.” But goodness knows that the same can’t be said of most humans. We (yes, I am human) are experts at the art of fretting over things we have to do. Some of us can even get a bit (all right, a lot) obsessive about listing our to-dos. 

So, my dearest poets and storytellers, for today’s optional prompt, I invite you to take a To-Do List (real or imagined) and turn it into a story or a poem (share the original list in your post, because I am nosy).

If this prompt doesn’t fit in your muse’s to-write-list, share any piece you like. Your contribution can be new or old, short or longish (369 words or fewer), fiction or nonfiction. Share the direct link to your post, please. One link per participant. Visit other poets and storytellers. And be kind; do not tell your cat (or anyone else’s cat) that they don’t have forever to finish their to-do-lists. 

next week, Rommy will invite us to write a poem or story inspired by lyrics from a song that really annoys us (please tell what the song is somewhere in the blog post).

photo by Thomas Bormans - on Unsplash

Friday, May 5, 2023

Friday Writings #75: A Character from Myth or Fable

Greetings, dear Wordsmiths!

I’m sure I've mentioned before that I receive the Poetry Newsletter from Diane Lockward, and also own the several wonderful books she has commissioned and edited on the craft of writing poetry – all of them full of a rich variety of prompts as well as craft tips. (To receive the – free! – newsletter yourself, go here.)

This week’s prompt: I’m stealing a prompt for you from one of her recent newsletters. It is to take a well-known myth or fable and write as one of the main characters (not necessarily retelling their story so much as inhabiting their skin). And tell us who; please don't make us guess!

It needs to be a well-known tale and character, so that your readers will get the reference. This means that you need not simply re-tell the story if you don’t want to – though you can if you wish – as readers should already know it, or be able to Google it with ease. You could put the person in any situation you like, even one from your own life, so long as you see it from their point of view. In the newsletter, poet Linda Pastan writes about looking at the sea and missing her husband, which she was indeed doing at the time – but she puts these reflections into the mind of Penelope, wife of Ulysses, by the simple expedient of titling the poem Penelope. (This was included in Lockward’s first craft book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, and is revisited now in memory of Pastan, who has died.)

Guidelines: The prompt is optional. What you choose to share with us this week may be verse or prose, old or new. Please keep it to 369 words max, one post only per person, and link to that post in Mister Linky below. You may also say a few words in our Comments here if so inclined, about anything you like. And do have fun visiting others who link, to enjoy whatever they share this time. Don’t forget to come back a few times, so you don’t miss the treasures in the later links!

Next week, Magaly will invite us to take a To-Do List (real or imagined) and turn it into a story or poem (share the original list in your post).

Photo by Yaoqi on Unsplash.