The Repurpose-Driven Wife

God only knows how I accumulated so many Health magazines. I’m not kidding–they filled a brown paper grocery bag. And I don’t even have the rock-hard abs to prove they did any good! Geesh.

My bowl in progress

To prevent my being mocked as a hoarder, I invited a few friends to help repurpose my collection into something “more useful.” Our mission? To fashion “coiled magazine paper bowls” from ripped, folded pages bearing protein-powder ads, weight-loss success stories, and tried-and-true workout tips. Add some glue stick and some tape and some varnish–and voila!–you have a bowl for… um, uh… something.

Thanks to ReadyMade magazine, Pinterest, and the creative pursuits of several resourceful friends, I’ve become fascinated with the “repurposing movement” in recent years. I’ve tried my hand at salvaging bottle caps, wool sweaters, plastic bags, etc. But today I got to thinking–I’ve been repurposing for years through writing!

There have been times when a story idea shifted and eventually revealed an unexpected life lesson. There have been times when a piece began as an essay, but morphed into a poem. And there have been times when I’ve taken out my metaphorical glue stick, tape, and varnish to rework an article or manuscript to satisfy a specific editor’s eye.

Indeed, I dream of having killer biceps and a hardy appetite for leafy greens someday. But, for now, I’ll do my part for the good of the world by repurposing that which clutters my corners… as well as that which I’ve dared put to page.


WRITING PROMPT 1: “Repurpose”–what a fun word! Try using it in a story or poem.

WRITING PROMPT 2: Repurpose one of your favorite stories by another author into a poem. (In writing, there’s no rule against using someone else’s idea and shaping it into something of your own. Plagiarism is an entirely different–and more vicious–animal.)

WRITING PROMPT 3: Perhaps you’ve been working on a piece that just isn’t getting there. Have you tried using the idea within a different format–perhaps turning a short story into a poem, or vice versa? Try repurposing a piece of your current work.

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5 thoughts on “The Repurpose-Driven Wife

  1. Joe Pineda says:

    Since you’ve read my piece about the work I’ve done with Marcus, I think you already know I’m going through a certain period of repurposing, myself. I’m not necessarily taking my short stories upside down, killing a character here, making one sing there or just turning the whole thing into verse, but at least two of them have been partially rewritten to reflect a shift of focus that quietly changes the entire story.

    Maybe it’s not that drastic a change, but I kept those babies in the drawer for easily four years. They’re of no use to me as they were back then-preachy, verbose, pointless-but I’m learning to change them into something that can commit to my new visions while not sacrificing my original intent to awe and entertain.

  2. Joe Pineda says:

    Good luck with the repurposing, by the way! My mother loves projects like these. Right now she’s making a collar out of orange peels, for example. I’ll make sure to tell her about the magazine bowl.

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