Writing Prompt: Two Lines, Good Wisdom

Aphorisms, adages, tweets: the goal of these genres is to be quick, efficient, startling, and wise with a little bit of wit thrown in for good measure. Think of your favorite tweet or Text from Last Night.

Consider these poems:

The Old Man
by Charles Reznikoff

The fish has too many bones,
and the watermelon too many seeds.


Their Sex Life
by A. R. Ammons

One failure on
Top of another


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. —Nietzsche


Truth keeps all the benefits of shame & leaves what remains—shame’s injury—mired in duplicity. —Anonymous

For the prompt, write ten two line poems or two sentence aphorisms. Try to reveal wisdom you have gained in a short space. Consider the relationship between the lines or sentences. Will thoughts or images build? Will they be point-counterpoint? Will it be setup-delivery, like a joke?

I am a self-proclaimed over writer, so to work in concise thoughts is a treat. I find it useful to write in ways that are the opposite of your first inclination. My first inclination is to write quickly and pare it back at some later time.


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