Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Draft: Record 11 - 4

67º ~ soggy soupy day, another 20º degree change in highs expected between yesterday and today, forecast full of storms, scattered

Irises on the Hendrix Campus, the antithesis of this week's poem
Baseball season is fully underway, friends and fans of the Kangaroo, and that means keeping score and keeping track of records.  While the Cubs hover around .500, just breaking even in the wins and losses, I've taken stock of my goal to draft a poem a week.  Staring with the first week of January, I'm proud to claim 11 wins and only 4 losses.  Woo Hoo!  My limited math skills say that's .733 in baseball terms, or 3 and 1/2 games over .500.  (Don't trust my math!).

Given the craziness of the past week, tornadoes, chalking the walk, the ever-present grading, some drama in the hallway at work, I wasn't sure what today's time at the desk would produce.  I did my Thursday night reminder to self about Friday drafting with only half-hearted energy.  As I went through my morning routine today, I tried and tried to think of poetry and was constantly distracted.  Monkey mind, I think, the Buddhists call this when they try to meditate. 

So, I cleared the desk/decks and took down my journal and my folder of poems in progress.  I glanced at the poems from the last few weeks, a new saint and two tales.  I enjoyed returning to the saints last week and thought I might go back there again.  Then, I opened my journal and found this note from last Friday.  "Make the barn poem a haunting tale."  This will make sense if you stopped by last Friday.  If not, read this.

Just glancing at that scribbled note was enough to set me off and running.  I'm beginning to doubt anyone will want to read a whole book of these tales, but who knows, they seem to be what wants to be written.  I did alter the first line slightly.  Instead of "Once there was a girl...," this new draft begins, "Once, a girl was born in the shadow / of a well-kept barn."  The draft is titled "Haunting Tale of Girls and Weathered Barns" so you can probably see that there's a twist in the poem that takes our girl from this well-kept barn to one that's falling down a bit. 

Another one of my worries is that these poems do not turn into prose hacked into lines.  I'm desperately focused on the poetic elements as I draft.  Here you might see why I've clung to lyric poems for so long and why I've shied away from narrative.  I'll try to focus even more on craft as I revise the poems along the way.

It seems without setting out to do so, I've begun writing a series.  Perhaps the form of tales has provided me a way to channel what I want to say about growing up in the Midwest and allows me the freedom of moving past confessional autobiography.  This is all fascinating to me, but I don't want to think about it too much, lest the poems evaporate.

PS: nothing is evaporating here in real life in the house of the Kangaroo.  There is so much humidity in the air that we are coated in fog this morning and it seeps into the house.  When I printed my drafts, the ink was slightly blurry.  As I looked closer and held the paper near my face, I realized that the paper itself was just a touch damp, soft really.  When I lived in the Midwest, I thought I knew humidity; NOPE, the South wins on that!


Quintilian B. Nasty said...

While the Cubs are doing okay with their fourth and fifth starters on the DL, let's hope they start emulating your record.

These sound like interesting poems even though you battled the damned monkey mindedness.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, Q. Let's hope the Cubs rally, but I'll love them no matter what happens.

Thanks for the support!

Kathleen said...

Yes, someone will want to read a whole book of the these tales. Me!

Also, check out Tongue, by Rachel Contreni Flynn.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kathleen. I love Tongue. I'm more worried about how repetitive the titles and opening lines are. I suppose I might need to branch out in some different directions soon, keeping the overall idea intact.

Nancy Devine said...

the world is wet here, remnants of a winter that won't let go.
monkey mind....very apt. i've had it a number of times.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Nancy, hope we all dry out soon!