Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Draft Process: The Body's Instinct is to Bloom

80º ~ conditions continue the same, some high white cloud cover, some small breezes

Well, I do seem to be re-invigorated today.  After my earlier post, I turned to Charlotte Pence's new chapbook The Branches, The Axe, The Missing, which arrived on my doorstep yesterday.  I figured I'd ease into things by reading what I was sure would be a great blend of heightened language and nervy story.  I was not disappointed.  The chapbook covers a speaker newly divorced, her thoughts on that divorcing and on her father, 15 years out of her life.  Interspersed are poems of a more general, philosophical nature about the evolution of human communities, especially surrounding the use of fire. The sum of the book is deftly woven.

After I finished the chapbook, I went back to cull out the words that leapt from the page.  I started my wordbank and about 2/3 of the way through Charlotte's poems something clicked & sparked.  Fire is akin to fever, and my sickly speaker knows all about that.

The draft begins:

So, this is what it means conquer
.............the fire of fever,

click for link
The poem is 33 lines, all of them deeply broken and indented in a random pattern that fits the phrases to my ear.  This is the first draft in a long while that began with these broken lines and ended that way as well.  This used to be one of my favorite ways of drafting and it felt good to return.

The title came along easily again and is based on one word from my wordbank, instinct.  I wrote out the line "The body's instinct is to bloom" but then it never fit into the draft, so I moved it up to the title and it brought a new focus to the lines and offered me a way through to the ending.

So, many thanks to Charlotte for her beautiful chapbook (highly recommend) and for the inspiration.

And many thanks to all who are following the sickly speaker on her journey.


drew said...

Wow! That's a great title. And those Word Banks (and you) work some real magic.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Drew! It's like the word banks help me focus. If it's just me and the blank page, I might wander away, but the list of words inevitably provides some spark, some launching point. Fantastic!