4/7 – Motif, Riff, Juxtaposition in the Lyric Essay

Love this short unpacking of the lyric essay!

Creative Writing

Daily warm up: Make a case for your favorite fruit. Do not turn this into an academic/persuasive essay. Focus on stories or experiences with the fruit as your “case.”

Today’s focus: We’re going to look at three of the main tools of a lyric essay together: motif, riff, and juxtaposition.

  • motif – a recurring image, object, or idea that often points to a symbol or a theme.

FOR EXAMPLE: In “The Scarlet Ibis,” a short story most of you read as 9th graders, the scarlet ibis is a bird, and an important symbol in the story. But if there were several different birds (robins, blue jays, geese), and even lots of words that had to do with birds in the story (bird, hover, fly, soar, peck), then it would be a MOTIF.

  • riff – a short combination of notes that you might come back to again and again in a…

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The Sunday Spotlight: Writer Kelly Thompson

Laurie Easter

Today’s featured writer: Kelly Thompson

The featured writing: “Hand Me Down Stories” published at Proximity Magazine.

I met Kelly Thompson last year at AWP in Minneapolis when I visited my friend, Christy Bailey, in her highrise Hilton suite. It was late, and the room was full of people because Christy, being very ill with cancer, had come to AWP as a means of seeing as many friends as possible all in one general location and at the same time. The room was loud, and there were lots of new people to meet, but that didn’t hinder Kelly’s effusive greeting. What struck me upon this meeting was her enthusiasm and vivaciousness. And what has struck me since getting to know her the little bit that I do is her unwavering support for the things and people she loves. Kelly promotes art in all forms, advocating with fervor for new…

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Making a Ruckus about Self-Love and Depression: Interview with Author Amy Ferris


The Practice of Creativity

Amy Ferris is an author, screenwriter, editor and playwright. She is dedicated to helping women ‘awaken to their greatness’. I know her through shared online writing communities and her incredible ‘this is what I know this morning’ Facebook posts that serve to inspire, uplift, instigate, provoke and set people’s imaginations on fire. Here’s an example of one of her posts that began the year:

this is what i know this morning.
post coffee
pre wine

all that crap we hold onto, that swirls inside our head, that reminds us over & over & over every mistake we made, every wrong turn we took, every bad choice we made and/or slept with/dated, reminds us that we’re broken, useless, unlovable, undesirable, all that crap that swirls repeatedly, relentlessly is not the truth. it is not the truth. most of the shame & the guilt we hold onto, carry around is not even…

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