Thursday, January 26, 2012

Draft Process: The Radiant Shimmer of Supplication

46º ~ rainy, cold, & gray, a repeat of yesterday, much fog this morning

Getting into the swing of my new routine at school means shifting my drafting day to Thursday, and I confess, I had a bit of a rocky start today.  I tried and failed to call up the voice of the sickly speaker last night and earlier this morning, although I did remind myself that this was going to be a drafting day.  I did manage to figure out what the speaker might be thinking about at this point in her treatment, so I had a wee grip on something as I started.

I decided to read through all of the sickly speaker poems and see what might shake loose.  I did know that the speaker was itching to write a letter to her mentor (the Dear Madame letters that appear once or twice a month in the series), and I knew that I wanted to continue to make clear the distinction between the mentor and the other major woman in the speaker's life, "the woman [she] called mother by mistake." 

After I'd read a handful of the existing poems and checked to see when the last letter poem was written, the first few lines came to me.  They survived into the actual draft.  Here they are.

Dear Madame--

Have you heard from her,
the woman I called mother by mistake?

She visits me at night, I swear.

The rest of the draft explores the speaker's absolute surety that this woman has been visiting outside her window at night, but as always, they are unable to communicate.  The speaker worries that this woman will somehow see her as radically changed by her blood transfusion and wants her to know she remains connected to her.  Also, the speaker believes that her mentor can somehow complete the missing link between the two and she begs her mentor to seek out this other woman and explain.

We've had a lot of wet and cold weather here lately and that seeps into the poem in the form of hoarfrost on the window.  Sadly, it hasn't been cold enough for hoarfrost to form here.  Instead, here's a picture of the beauty I imagined for the speaker (remember, she only has a tiny window above her bed and no other connection to the natural word).

from Science Photo Library, click for link
I said above that it was a rocky day of drafting.  After I had those first few lines, I flitted back and forth between a word bank from Quan Barry's work and the draft.  Somehow the words from the word bank did not slip easily into the draft as they have done in the past.  I suppose this is a good thing, as it means I'm learning the speaker's voice more clearly; however, I still held at the forefront my desire to use evocative language, charged with energy.  The draft also took a wrong turn about 2/3 of the way through, and I spent a good while figuring that out and righting the forward progress, so to speak. 

I'm not on solid ground with this one, but I'm thrilled to have been able to set aside the uproar of other duties for this little bit of time and to have crafted something new. 


Kathleen said...

Glad you had time for drafting. And struggling. A good struggle!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K.!

Molly said...

Ooh, this draft sounds very Wuthering Heights. I find the triumvirate of women in these poems very intriguing. And I echo Kathleen: a good struggle.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ooh, I like "triumvirate of women". Thanks!