Sunday, December 30, 2012

Draft Process: Sometimes, a Set of Words Works like a Key

32ยบ ~ some sun battling back the thick cloud layer, hoping to reach 40 today to make a dent in the snow


This morning, while resetting the internet modem yet again (as our cable input fluctuates as the repair crews continue to get folks up and running again), I glanced on the spine of Christina Davis' Forth a Raven (Alice James Books, 2006), which I often cite as one of my favorite books.  Yes, I have approximately 50 books of poetry waiting to be read, but something tugged at me to see if Davis' work holds up.  It appears I last re-read this book in January 2008, and I'm thrilled to say, the magic remains.

I consumed / re-consumed that book.  I had to remind myself to slow down, to savor.  And when I was finished, I felt that old tingle, that desire to write something staggering of my own.  What better way to start than to do a word bank from Davis' book.  I set about collecting nouns and verbs and of course those lovely adjectives to which I'm toooooo addicted.  The first coupling that leapt out at me was "shadow" and "songs" and I drew an arrow across the page to connect the words, trampling over other words in the process.  Then, it was when I hit upon Davis' use of the word "unmothered" that I knew what I wanted to say and that I wanted to use a variation of this un-word, a list of un-words actually.

The draft began, at first, with the lines that ended up in the title, "Sometimes, a set of words / works like a key."  I went on from there, exploring a painful, private, personal history that I've alluded to in the past few draft process notes.  These poems feel raw and I wonder if I'm teetering on the melodramatic at nearly every line.  It's so hard to tell.  Still, this seems to be the subject matter of the moment, and if all the heartache of December teaches me nothing else, it must teach me that this moment is all I have and I better use it wisely.


6 comments:

Tawnysha Greene said...

This new collection sounds powerful and I get chills when you write about it! Hoping for more mornings of productive writing for you--it's amazing how much of an inspiration some books can be!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Tawnysha!

Molly said...

Oh, the raw poems are hard... and I want to give you a gentle (possibly nosy) reminder that when you're working on raw poems you need a little extra self-care. Ok, I'll stop being bossy now. Take good care.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, Molly, you are so sweet! (And never bossy!). <3

Donna Vorreyer said...

The words of others are often the best key to finding something you didn't know you wanted or needed to say. Keep working on those raw ideas - I'm sure the results will be amazing.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the encouragement Donna!