Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Draft of the Week



24ยบ and still no sign of snowy clouds

My earlier prediction of getting some word work done came true! Woo hoo! My goal during my teaching months is to draft one new poem a week. In 16 weeks, I hope to have 10- 12 poems ... knowing that some weeks things won't work out or that the draft will ultimately fail, which is fine b/c I'm still showing up ... still playing with the language.

Today I returned to something I posted about last fall: the word bank and the random number generator. I started by beginning to read Beth Bachmann's Temper, which I'll post about later, but then I really wanted to write. After casting about for a time, I knew I needed a springboard to launch myself back into the writing mode. I flipped back to the beginning of Bachmann's book and randomly picked nouns, verbs, and adjectives that called to me, making lists of words in my journal. Then, I numbered the words (1 - 51 today) and used the random number generator at random.org to form pairs of words. Once I had about 10 pairs, I already saw several lines forming. Eventually, I drafted a 15-line poem in 3 stanzas of 5 lines each. This is a bit unusual for me, since I normally draft in couplets or tercets. Also a bit unusual is that this is a character poem about a woman I just made up in my head based on several lines the random number generator suggested. Cool. I have no idea if it will survive, but the draft is called "Having Been Entrusted with Safekeeping."

4 comments:

Josh said...

This looks like a fantastic exercise, Sandy. Thanks for posting it.

Also, best wishes on your birthday! Hope it's a good one.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes Josh. I really like this exercise. I usually revise out quite a bit, but it definitely gets me started.

mariegauthier said...

I often draft in tercets or couplets also, isn't that interesting? I don't know why I'm uncomfortable with quatrains, but I rarely write in them. Cool exercise! I many times begin a draft with just a list of words that spoke to me--what you've done takes it to a new level!

And Happy Birthday! Hope it's special!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the good wishes Marie.

The random generator really forces me to get outside my cliche brain when I'm looking at a list of words.