Friday, January 29, 2010

Drafting Progress



32ยบ and solid cloud cover, a layer of crunchy sleet, ice gathering on leaves and branches, conditions to deteriorate as more moisture arrives with falling temps

Another snow day for the husband and me, although I don't travel to campus on Fridays because of online teaching, so it's not a real snow day for me. It's actually ice we're about to get, which is nothing to mess with down here...to many hills, too few salt trucks.

Everything has been moving at half speed for me this morning, perhaps because of the lack of sun and the sinking temps. Therefore, this post is a bit later than normal. I'm not sure how it happened but at the end of week 3 of the semester, I find that I've developed a pattern for writing: Mondays: read others' works and post about them, Wednesday catch up on others' blogs and maybe some more reading (school-related obligations build), Friday (a gathering breath and a step back from school) draft my poem attempt of the week. I wonder if the patter will hold.

Today, I have three rejection letters sitting on the desk waiting to be recorded; however, I did draft, for which I'm always thankful. I did not use any kind of prompt per se. I did begin by reading from someone else: Nate Pritts, Sensational Spectacular, which I'll be posting on soon. Pritts is just a bit outside my comfort zone, but that's turned out to be a good thing. I've been reading the book more slowly, delving in again this morning as I shifted gears into "word mode." Pritts uses the colon a lot and I've been studying how he uses it to his best advantage. One of his poems, "Duel on the Island," begins, "Hidden: a meticulous list," and after I read that line, it stuck in my head. I continued to read a few more poems before my draft began to form in my head, starting with, you guessed it, "Hidden:..." I scribbled out some lines of pure image, whatever came to me. I fumbled around with it for a bit. After twenty minutes of scrawling lines and then scratching half of them out I realized that the line should begin, "Recovered: ..." Then a scenario built itself in my head and a speaker to go with it. And now there is a poem of sorts beginning. Today's poem is titled "Notes from the Burial Site." (I almost never begin a poem with a title in mind. This one only arrived after I had that first group of lines and a scenario.)

For those keeping score, January was a huge success. Four weeks, four poems! They are:
"Having been Entrusted with the Safekeeping"
"Pilgrimage"
"For Beaufort's Distant, Landlocked Daughter"
"Notes from the Burial Site"

I'm also pleased with the way this writing schedule allows me to revise at will. I believe that I've tinkered with the older poems at least twice a week so far. One consequence of this is that the poems are almost always floating around in my head and therefore the revising goes more easily, I think. Fewer stops, starts, and stutters. The poems become more organic, perhaps.

In the face of rejection, the only step available is to revise, revise, revise, and write on.

2 comments:

mariegauthier said...

Three rejections?! Fie on them!

Congratulations, however, on your productive month--it always always helps to be writing, and liking what you write. And I think having a loose schedule helps, also, keeps your mind in readiness or something.

Thank you. I've been meaning to say that I really enjoy these posts on your process, and give me ideas, too!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Hey, M.! Glad the posts are helpful. I love hearing about the process of other writers.