Category Archives: The 3:15 Experiment

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the 3:15 Experiment

I’m a bit at the eleventh hour here with this invitation (SINCE IT BEGINS TONIGHT), but truly, you could join the experiment at any time. And I wanted to write this invitation especially to those who don’t necessarily fancy themselves to be poets.

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Since August 1993, a shifting menagerie of writers has been waking up each night at 3:15 AM for the entire month of August to write. The original idea was:

to discover what connections would be made while writing separately, but together, at the same time for a month while under hypnagogic influences.

The experiment was so intriguing and inspiring it kept growing and morphing. Many writers have come to look forward to it every year. Many have created their own guidelines and experiments within the format. We love this as long as people maintain the point: to write in the hypnopompic/hypnagogic states (between sleeping and waking / waking and sleeping).

Anything posted to any “official” 3:15 publication or website maintains the RAW unedited material. Though many writers choose to publish their edited poems elsewhere. We like that, too.

To Join:

A facebook page to stay in communication during the month:

3:15 Facebook Page

Some samples from years past:

The 3:15 Experiment Website
Though not everyone chooses to post their poems (or even types them out).

And here is a thesis paper written by Gwendolyn Alley on the topic:

The 20th Anniversary of the 3:15 Experiment

My invitation to you comes in the form of a poem.

you don’t have to be a poet

to write poetry
my father built greenhouses
and filled them with orchids

I believe people are meant
to get along with each other

the Indian taxi driver waves
me into my turn
gives me the right
of way      as I cruise
the summer streets on my
hand-me-down bicycle

I stop at the Holy Cross Anglican Church
to write down that line
about my dad’s orchids
before it spills into the road
with my juggled thoughts
of the two cherub-faced Mormon boys
who came to my front door
struggling to respond
when I told them:

Think of the metaphor of the ocean
how we can be drops
yet still disappear
into the One
universal consciousness

before thanking them for their good work
and sending them on their way
tripping tongue-tied through the gate

no, you don’t have to be a poet
to write poetry
you just need to write
yourself
an open door

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Filed under Collaborations, do something different, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, truth and beauty, writing exercises, writing life

Monday Potes: more 3:15ness

More middle-of-the-night workings from this year’s 3:15 Experiment

Aug 3, 2010
Vancouver, BC

measuring the good people of the universe
their birth    their celestial footprint

when she left she became star dust
arriving to see the aftershock
travelling unladen     as a dying wish

granted
we sped past the farmlands
what’s left of them in the urban creep
fresh blueberries blocks from the highway the
super highway the burning desire

sun stroke us down     past the islands
ferry hopping                        past the passengers
en route from their holiday
get away     gotten     the stars      we too
become star dust     memories
it is the only thing to become
when all
is said and done

make me a shooting star
spotted by farmers across the galaxy
looking up after toil     after burn
let me burn up    burn out
light the way

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Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment

Monday Potes: 3:15 Rides Again

I JUST finished typing up my 3:15 poems from this August. This may be a record for me. Usually I finish a few months before the next round.

What was so amazing, though, is I barely remember writing the last several poems. As well, as the month went on I obviously had a harder and harder time staying awake (the writing grew barely legible) and the work got a bit more surreal.

Below is one of my favourite poems from the month. I remember I was reading a dystopian novel at the time where they couldn’t see stars. Stars were the stuff of myths. So, without stars, what would poets compare their lover’s eyes to?

Aug 20, 2010 – 3:15 AM
Vancouver, BC

without the stars the life of us
is a very lonely place of singular
miracles spiders without wings but webs
birds without webs but songs     a gravitational
kingdom     a jungle-gym dictionary
cats without scales but purrs and claws
seahorses without fur but delicate curls
you without me but lost me without you
but dreaming without windows
sunshine and sunflowers even a moon
even without the stars your eyes
could be compared to sea
shine to dew on glass
to two moons were there
such a thing without the stars
less poetry about the stars
without stars just vastness
chilly witness    irritable reality
oh stars oh light
oh look the stars are like
your eyes

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Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, truth and beauty, writing exercises

Gwendolyn Alley’s Middle of the Night Poems

I know I’m not the only one who has been urging Gwendolyn Alley to publish a collection of her poems. And now she has done it, created a moving story, over years of participating in the 3:15 Experiment, with this collection of poems from the middle of the night for her mother and young son.

I met Gwendolyn at the Taos Poetry Circus in 2000. At that time, The 3:15 Experiment had been running for 7 years and had been growing each year. The Taos Poetry Circus became and annual trek for both of us, and she became part of the cycle of experimenters.

Gwendolyn’s unflagging enthusiasm and dedication drew us closer together and she became one of our core “cognizanti” – co-editing the between sleeps 3:15 anthology and hosting a 3:15 Fiesta in Ventura in 2006. She was a natural addition to our core group, as she has a knack for bringing people together, artists in particular, for a common and higher purpose.

Gwendolyn has done so much for poetry and poets: organizing events, editing the work of writers, encouraging and mentoring writers. It’s about time we celebrate her work.

This collection is available now in limited run chapbook form from en theos press. A printed book will also be available later in the year.

For poets, for mothers, for those who marvel at our connectedness.

READ MORE about Gwendolyn and the “Middle of the Night” launch.

From “Middle of the Night Poems from Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son”

August 1, 2003

it’s 315 time again
i go to lie on my side to write
but the baby is there
i can’t lie on the baby
it’s like lying on a watermelon
large and hard

the baby sleeps right now
no movement–i’m awkward
trying to find a way
to comfortably write i’m strained
as constrained as the baby at 29 weeks
we are alike today in that way
both trying to get comfortable
to get some sleep
the baby can see light
a red glow seeps through my belly
can hear sound but probably not
the crickets outside or
daddy making his going to sleep sigh
hmm mmm mmmm he says

the notebook too is pregnant
uncomfortable it doesn’t
want to open to bend back
to receive anymore
it too is slightly bent
out of shape its spirals
damaged well traveled but
empty of much writing

as i slide down scoot down
slip down off my pillows
losing my great grip on my place
the angle of the pen
the lightness of the ink
indicates betrays its discomfort
the pen is pregnant too
pregnant with poems with desire
to be a useful tool
yet more than a tool of transmission
a tool of transformation
i too am that tool
one of transmission of transformation
the baby in my belly
the pen in my hand

Also known as The Art Predator: you can visit Gwen’s very active blog at: artpredator.wordpress.com

For writing advice, personal or business, visit her at The Write Alley: thewritealley.com

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Filed under on my bookshelf, poetry, random poop, The 3:15 Experiment, truth and beauty

Monday Potes: from 3:15

From this year’s experiment. This is the first 3:15 poem I’ve ever written from a hospital room. I had to take my husband in one night. (He’s fine, btw. He had a nasty virus.)

Aug 4, 2010

Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, BC

the moon is red
like a sci-fi planet
surreal in the night
out the emergency taxi window
three cats to the wind
then all windows vanish and replace
themselves w/white hum
disembodied voices test for cures
charts mark the anaesthetic blocks
to your hands and feet
you’re the patient under the sheet
you have a fever of 101˚
you ask if you are dead
not yet
on the TV a man kills
8 in Connecticut but you
are safe for one more red moon
rise             more red blood sun
the plasma rays reach out
touch earth skin
heat it like your neck
fevered and quiet
except for the occasional
moan                   what’s the occasion?
lying in a hospital bed
the familiar feeling of
a body breaking down
its limits
cosmic and uncertain

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Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

The Spider Relocation Project (AKA Office Renovation) @ 3:15 AM

A RECAP (with spiders)

Shared Office with Hubster

Current office space.

Depressing.

Crowded.

Ick.

AKA The Shed

Soon-to-be-Room-of-my-Own

The Shed has been home to random
boxiness since we moved in almost
3 years ago.

BEFORE

Before

The Shed-to-Den-of-Awesomeness
project begins.

And the current inhabitants are
going to have to move.

AFTER

After a lot of heavy lifting
and the relocation of 37 spiders
(32 Daddy Longlegs and 5 Wolf Spiders)

We have . . . empty space!

And the spider relocation project is a success!

Jar of Spiders

However, they revisited me in my dreams during the 3:15 Experiment.

from The 3:15 Experiment
August 7, 2010

A jar of spiders in the sun
daddy long-legs paddling the air
they must be relocated
re launched     spider astronauts
flying in the wind
through space     moments before
touching down on cement block or
woodpile they hold their breath
count one . . . two . . .

I’m not interested in the relocation of spiders
merely the poetic parachute
the lightness of being
the silence of godliness
spiderness is next to godliness
the descent of spiderkind
moment fleeting without
any barbarianism
without ego smash
without combustion
without pushing aside
they catch the breeze
drop without hesitation
into the new void

~ ~ ~

I love how I interrupt the poem in the 2nd half. I remember thinking to myself, “No, I don’t want to write about the process of the relocation of spiders, I want to say something about how beautiful it was when they floated away.”

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Filed under cool poop, domestic poop, renovation, The 3:15 Experiment

Fragments at 3:15

17 more days until the 2010 3:15 Experiment begins!


Every year you think it may be the last, but you can’t help yourself. You must write. It’s like playing the same numbers on a lottery ticket each week. That poetic gold may come. You succumb. You buy a magic journal and pen. You set your alarm. You are a 3:15 warrior.

This year I know is gonna be awesome. I can just feel it in me bones.

I JUST finished typing up all my entries from last year and I pulled out a few fragments to share. The logic and wisdom of 3:15 half-dreamness. It never gets old.

from 3:15

it’s too hot to jump through hoops and
dog biscuits make more sense than
love

~ ~ ~

dream saboteurs keep me locked in an
office of noncommitment

~~~

the Doctor says make happy
before you fall asleep    make a
subconscious stew of feelings
of peace and love                I thought
this is me in my happy place
and still guns pointed at me
as if my blood would stop

a war

~~~

I bet          no one but insanity

knows what it’s like to run amok

~~~

If all our moments came back
to haunt us,     where would
they sleep?
Moments moping under the
accelerator, biding time in the kitchen

~~~

All edible agents
are drawn and quartered, distributed
w/out much fanfare.

Placing the lower quarter of an
idea in his mouth, he declared
all originality sin.

~~~

drawings that are purposeful
that show the ring to royalty
and unobstructed lustre offsets
become angles of the revolution

~~~

don’t go into the light I’ve decided,

no, no, stay right here   eat
sausage w/lentil soup.   be at
the poker game, mind games, keep
your mind bending     it’s exercise
stupid, this thinking.   buy
gas masks.  visit Hawaii.  Look for
a private island to return to, or live
in peace.     Go north.    Kick a
snowman.  brush your teeth.

~~~

what to do with a husband
what to do with fondue

~~~

everyone dressed to the nines
except me
about six-and-a-half.

~~~

my details like dust    mingle    in space
every time I look out now     I see space
I see us in it     hurtling     around the
sun     centripetal force     and here I am
a universe of universes     talking
to you     my random formations
hurtling     in their proper places
around the sun     all of us     me too.

~~~

I am a triangle maiden
mother crone (w/out the
mother) a childless triangle
an escape artist
put your love in a box
in a window     on the curb

Chalk on sidewalk
hopscotch     come home

I almost flew away
I could have if
I had enough speed

you can’t roll a triangle
you can’t plant
a triangle seed.

~~~

The 3:15 Experiment has a FACEBOOK PAGE. Check out the participants, cheer each other on, get the best advice from old hats, chew some 3:15 fat.

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Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises