This is a poetry exercise for anyone in possession of a 20-sided die, it is easily modified for any-sized die for those looking to practice voltas.
Step One. Make a list of twenty things you’ve done over the past week, month, whatever.
Step Two. Make a list of twenty ways you’ve been interrupted over the past week, month, whatever.
Step Three. Roll die to select a task from the first list.
Step Four. Write as much of a poem about that task as you can without ever finishing the poem. How much can you write before you feel stuck or bored or on the verge of going too far?
Step Five. Roll die to select an interruption from the second list.
Step Six. Continue working on poem, “course correcting” for the new direction the interruption takes you, until you feel you’ve reached the poem’s natural conlusion.
Step Seven. Pat yourself on the back for writing a poem with a volta, a.k.a. a turn (very big in Italian sonnets and traditional haikus).
Bonus. I’m going to share a poem I wrote following the above steps. Though I only made the first list and rolled for it twice. 1 to start the poem with “I had an early breakfast” and 14 to turn with by my having made a list of mental health metrics.
I had an early breakfast, and then another breakfast at the usual time because my period started; bright and early, you could say, if you’re not grossed out already; though, if you are you needn’t be, it happens to a lot of people. Every minute of every day someone somewhere is menstruating and in need of additional sustenance because — apparently — self-cannibalizing takes a lot out of you, and it’s impossible to say which of the two breakfasts is the most important meal of the day when skipping either could lead to tragedy, like biting someone’s head off; fairly common when you’re simultaneously self-cannibalizing and hungry, but somehow the only clue some people will pick up on what’s going on; having missed it’s been a year since you’ve made a meal plan that involved actual cooking, and that it’s been five years since you baked even one batch of cookies, yet here you sit expelling warm-and-gooey death as you munch your way through the skull of some nitwit; and Now people notice something’s amiss, and are making inquiries from a distance so safe they will learn literally nothing useful; but one of them will Believe otherwise, forgetting not to sit in arm’s reach a month from now.