Saturday, June 9, 2012

Draft Process: Transformation, Definitive Notes from a Learned Hand

81º ~ the heat builds back, felt most in the lack of leaving the 70s at night, a chance of storms predicted for Monday, until then, no rain but rising humidity, today a bit of cloud cover to the south, blue sky to the west, the two compass points of my windows

Hallelujah!  My computer is returned and reborn with a new hard drive, after much misdiagnosis.  (Everything really does come back to the sickly speaker in the end.)  I was surprised at how much more comfortable I felt this morning with my desk cleared of everything except the folders of poems, my journal, and the dictionary, and my desktop screen greeting me with so much clarity. No clutter from the iPad, keyboard, and laptop set up.  I am a creature of habit, it is true.

The inclusion of the dictionary in my list hints at today's draft, as does the title.  I want some dictionary poems for the latter half of the series, and so far, the three I've drafted deal more with sickness than with health.  The natural turning point is the procedure that begins to heal the speaker.  I've said in the past that I don't know whether it was a transfusion or a bone marrow transplant. Here's the thing, the speaker was so sick and out of it that she doesn't know.  The speaker also has no visitors, no family/friends to record what the doctors are saying.  Over the past five years, my mother has gone to endless doctor appointments with her mother.  This began when my grandmother's hearing starting failing, despite her hearing aids, and when my mother no longer got the "straight story" from her mother.  This seems to be a truth in dealing with a serious illness.  The mind is altered by the body's sickness and it's hard to keep up with the doctor (I experienced a tiny slice of this after my recent oral surgery.)  Sadly, the sickly speaker has no one by her side to be her advocate.

Getting to the point, I turned in my Shorter Oxford first to "transfuse," thinking it would be a gold mine, and it is, if short.  However, on the facing page my eyes found "transformation" and the eureka light went on.  Using "transformation," I keep the prefix but don't have to narrow down the procedure.  Wahoo!

The poem begins:

The action of changing in form, a metamorphosis.
...........In the patient, there are two--

image from Wikimedia Commons, click for link

I have four stanzas and 22 lines, although the stanzas are all different lengths.  After those first two lines, lines three and four are indented yet again.  Like the last dictionary draft, each of the four stanzas begins with a phrase from the dictionary, but this time there is more indention and the only period in each stanza occurs in the first line, which serves like the heading in a set of notes.  The indenting within the stanzas signifies the scratch outline method of taking notes, and it is in those indented lines that I weave in the sickness & the health of the body with the more global definitions of "transformation."  There is one specific definition that applies.  "In biology. The genetic alteration of a cell by the introduction or absorption of extraneous DNA."  Are you kidding me?  That's exactly what I needed!  And a condensed version of that serves as the beginning of the fourth/last stanza. 

The title came pretty easily and happened while I was still hand-drafting in my journal, which is a bit unusual.  Usually, I don't worry about the title until I've got the whole of the thing out on the computer screen.  Not today.  Again, playing with the idea of definition, I came up with "Transformation, Definitive Notes from a Learned Hand."  In my Word document, I've used the accent that signals making Learned into two syllables....learn-ed (that last bit pronounced like the name Ed for any non-English lit majors out there).  I can't get blogger to accept the HTML to make that work out here.

Not sure if I'll get to a book today, as I have lots of paperwork that piled up when the computer was down and I want to re-read all of the series and include these newer poems so I can see where I am and where I need to go.

Thanks for accompanying me today!

No comments: