Somatic Lab #12: Write as Rain

a generative free- writing exercise that uses Organic Form to explore the sonic and phonic landscape


The best time to go fishing is in the rain. The drops break up the surface, drive currents, and redistribute nutrients. You are baiting like with like: what hangs on the line?

Meissner and Miller question not just finding form or questioning form but “re-cogn[izing]” the vectors, tensions, stencils, boards that construct perceptions and projections of form. How can we inhabit formlessness in the very moment we witness form crowning and receding? What do we pull from water with water? Through water? In water?

This exercise creates a lab to sound and sense “organic form” as defined by Denise Levertov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Duncan. We close the score and define the boundaries of the container by using water instead of air (instead of all) to create a horizon line/ horizon note. How does the skin, the drum, the edge, the barrier both respond to and reflect sound?

Allow the space for synesthesia and kinesthesia here—sound and touch—the felt sense of rain.

Free-write #1: Wait for rain. Create a barrier between you and the rain: window, roof, umbrella, tree, canopy, awning, hat brim, newspaper, etc. Close your eyes and tune into your ears. Observe the sound of the rain on the container—a mist, a drizzle, a drop, a shower, a downpour, a [ ]. Listen until you find the rhythm of the rain. Open your eyes and begin to free-write in/to/from/of this pattern of sound. Write for 10 minutes, noticing the shifts in weather, sound, and writing.

Free-Write #2: Remove the barrier between yourself and the rain. Close your eyes and tune into your skin. Observe the sensation of rain on you as container. Listen until you find the shape/flow of the rain. Open your eyes and begin to free-write in/to/from/of this pattern of sensation. Write for 10 minutes.

Free-Write #3: Write as rain—tuning into both the sound in/around/on and the sensation in/on/of the rain. What washes through you, over you, in you? What precipitates? What remains? What line do you hear driving rain? What “rift” in perception must be jumped or leapt? What is created in the space between drip drop, because of drip and drop?

rain river.gif


Denise Levertov: Some Notes on Organic Form


To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge.