Friday, June 10, 2011

Draft Process: A New Cautionary Tale

81º ~ a bit of a reprieve for the next few days with highs in the low 90s and a slight chance for some rain, predictions that we will rise back to the upper 90s by early next week, all here is sun washed and bleaching ~ the feeding frenzy continues at the nest, climbed the desk to see what could be seen, alas, the thing is titled outward, grow baby birds, grow, so I can see you

Oh Happy Day!  A new draft!  Wahoo!  I can't help it; I still get a lovely thrill when I've written a draft, an upsurge in energy and possibly a brief release of endorphins.

Without pushing it, I've had the idea of a few more fairy/cautionary/haunting tales in the back of my mind for the past few days.  Somehow, everything just clicked from the get go today.  Wish I could bottle that magic!

I opened the journal and took a quick look at my list of Midwestern icons and when I hit the word "hawk," the line was already forming.  I flipped as quickly as I could to a fresh page and wrote:

Once there was a girl who knew the hawk's eye was always on her...

The rest unfolded from there, but two curious things happened.

1) I felt the need to go directly to the computer rather than drafting more of the poem by hand.  That's new for me.  I remember when the lovely Mary Angelino read at the Arkansas Literary Festival.  Her MFA is newly minted and she's a bit younger than me, but I was still surprised when Mary mentioned that she drafts all of her work on the computer, no handwriting at all.  It hadn't even dawned on me, I suppose, that this was a way of writing.  Still, I'll take it any way it comes. 

2) My girl in this poem does not come out on top, she is not empowered by the end of the poem and she has not made her own choices.  Tied in with this is the fact that the hawk is the 'bad guy' if you will, and I LOVE hawks; they are my second favorite kind of bird.  (FYI:  1 = great blue heron, 2 = Cooper's hawks b/c they are the species I grew up observing most in my part of Iowa, but I really love all hawks)  Normally, in these tales I've been telling, the elements of the land & air are the 'good guys' who aid the girl in discovering her true nature, even if that includes some violence, and the adults, usually fathers but some of the mothers too, try to make the girl conform to a 'normal' way of Midwestern life.  Hmmmmmm... a new direction.  And I'm glad for it, since I've looked at the poems as a chapbook and don't want them to get boring or all run together.

For now, the poem is titled "Cautionary Tale of Girls and Birds of Prey," but I'm not settled on that.

An immature Cooper's Hawk, courtesy of Creative Commons


Kathleen said...

Exciting and scary title. And process story. I, too, love cooper's hawks, who have a territory in our neighboring back yards, though not yet this particular summer...and even though I have watched them eat mice, baby rabbits, and other birds, alas.

Sandy Longhorn said...

"a terrible beauty is born"

Thanks for stopping in.

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

The only problem I can see with drafting poems on the computer is that a body might forget to save the various revisions.

This happened to me once with an article. I wanted to reclaim one part of the older version of the essay but didn't save the old version. Painful...

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ah, Q., I'm paranoid about that! I print each draft, save multiple times, and use an external hard drive. :)