87 deg ~ was gray and cloudy an hour ago, but now the sun has cleared the air, a breeze stirs the trees
Day Thirteen: It's a good thing I chose to do this project in the summer when the days stretch out with little structure. Had a hard night's sleep, not quite insomnia, but fitful. So, another late start, although C. assures me that this kind of thinking should only apply during the school year. What does late mean when there's nowhere to go and no one to whom we are accountable but ourselves? (A wise man, that man I married.) Still, it's hard for me to shake off the self-judgment.
When I finally made it to the desk, I must confess, Dear Readers, I was ready to throw in the towel on this draft-a-day experiment. Really, I already have 10 new drafts...a nice round number...why not stop there? However, I'd woken up thinking about January Gill O'Neil's book Underlife, a copy of which I'd won on January's blog almost six months ago, I think, maybe more. Like most of the books I acquired in the late winter and spring, Underlife was relegated to the summer reading pile. In order to get started today, I thought I'd take a peek inside...now I can't wait to read the whole thing!
I did start today by gathering up words from the first few poems in the book and then I went ahead with the random generation of pairs. On the third pair, I knew I'd struck pay dirt: rage and hourglass...fraught with imagery and meaning. Two more components entered the mixing pot: one) a poet friend had recently shared a true litany poem, with her repeated phrase being "breath of..." and two) my fitful sleep. I ended up writing a draft titled "Litany for the Insomniac" with the repeated phrase being "Suffer the... ." Of course, I was thinking of the biblical "suffer the little children to come unto me," although there's nothing religious in the poem. It's written in couplets, with the second line of each couplet indented. Right now my favorite is the first, which I must thank January for inspiring. "Suffer the rage of the hourglass, / its body smacked hard and cracked." There are four words from my Underlife word bank in this group: suffer, rage, hourglass, and cracked. Throughout the rest of the draft, I picked a few more words from the word bank and did some pulling from thin air as well.
Litanies, a type of catalog poem, can be fun to draft, but I have my reservations. It's harder to tell when the poem is finished. In fact its harder to discern the real skeleton of the poem, since one could go on creating more repetitions all day. As my creative juices were drying up this morning, I tried to force this draft to go a particular way. I was stubborn; it was stubborn. Eventually the draft won and I had to delete one couplet that I really liked but that didn't fit the skeleton that took shape.
I am beginning to wonder if these drafts are becoming forced or if the pressure-cooker of the 14-day program just produced results. Time and the revision process will tell, I hope. As always, I'm thankful for those of you who stop by to read and to comment. One more draft to go. Official count: 11 drafts in 13 days. Woo Hoo!
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January Gill O'Neil
CavanKerry Press, 2009