Saturday, April 29, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #29 - Life Elsewhere

Life elsewhere - our imaginations
conceive of things both very alike
and very different from life we know.
Today's prompt is about "life elsewhere."  We have a general conception of what "life" is that surrounds us on a daily basis - people, animals, plants, insects, fish, etc.  It is known and familiar to us - our standard environment.  But what would life look like "elsewhere," in an environment very different from what we deal with daily?

The first thought one might have about another place for life is other planets.  (Of course as a planetary scientist this is my first thought, anyway :)  What would life look like if it were found on a very cold world, or in a world of dunes and dust, or a world where the surface is so hot it could melt lead?  Would it resemble life as we know it (with a few modifications) or would it be completely unrecognizable?

[American Journal] by Robert Hayden

disguise myself in order to study them unobserved
adapting their varied pigmentations     white black
red brown yellow      the imprecise and strangering
distinctions by which they live     by which they
justify their cruelties to one another

The White Fires of Venus by Denis Johnson

They know all about us on Andromeda,
they peek at us, they see us
in this world illumined and pasteled
phonily like a bus station,

But there are environments on Earth that are also "elsewhere" - places that are quite different from what we normally consider.  What about the possibility of life inside of rocks, up in the clouds, deep inside of glaciers, or boiling away in natural hot springs?  We have found life in these places.  But don't limit yourself to the scientific facts, here.  What about life inside of the Sun, for example?

Take the ideas and feel free to run with them in whatever direction your mind takes you.  Elsewhere includes other dimensions, other planes of being, different realms, and even other universes.

Prompt #29:  Choose some aspect of the concept of "life elsewhere" and write a poem.  Would life in these places grow to be intelligent?  Would it evolve the same way we do?  How would society and culture come to pass?  Would those concepts have any meaning?  Would we be able to visit, even communicate?  How?  Consider answers to these questions as you craft your poem.

For something more specific, let the form of your poem in some way reflect the kind of life you have envisioned - ordered, simple, complex, free-form, wiggly, small, big or whatever.

This theme is a natural for expression in a sci-fi, horror, or fantasy context!

Did you use this or one of our other prompts? You can post your poem in our comments, if you like.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credits: Ethereal Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0

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