Friday, February 19, 2010

Drafting Relieves Grouchiness

41º ~ good sun ~ a gentle breeze at work in the low branches ~ perhaps the last of the snow will melt today

Ah, Dear Readers, thanks for all your well wishes from Wednesday's post. The headache lingers and if the medicine does not do its work by Monday, I'm probably in for a visit to the doctor. Between the headache, the round of rejections, a long day at school yesterday, and a pile of grading the must be done by Monday, I began the day in one of the worst bouts of grouchiness I've had this far this semester. I was sure, sure, sure that there would be no new draft today. I tried to be okay with that, telling myself that I'd always known I wouldn't get 16 drafts from a 16-week semester, and that I'd have to accept this sooner rather than later.

Still, I took care of the piddling little things on my desk, clicked on my iTunes classical mix, and cleared the space. (I cannot draft while listening to music with lyrics.) I gave myself until 10:00 to try reading and to see if any draft emerged. (Luckily, with the second dose of meds, my headache has been subdued to a dull thudding). I opened up a book I've been eager to read: Mary Biddinger's Prairie Fever. (If I find some time to read it this weekend, expect a post on this fabulous book next week!) I wasn't fully able to concentrate at first; however, by the third or fourth poem, the music of the words and images started seeping in. I glanced up and saw a photo a great friend had sent of some not-yet-ripe persimmons, and I had a phrase. I jotted it down and returned to Biddinger's work. I probably read a half dozen or so more poems. Then, out of nowhere, I had an opening line: "In your stories, someone's always lost amid the cornstalks..." I went back to the book but could not continue reading because more of my own lines started crowding my head. Alas, my persimmon line did not fit, but I'll save it for another day.

Swiftly, swiftly, the draft poured out. And here, I must pause to thank that editor whose rejection gave me so much trouble last week. I kept his comments in mind, could see that I might have fallen into a pattern of repeated syntax and worked with this new draft to break free from it, just as an experiment. I do not know if this poem has reached its full form. There may be more to add. It needs to sit and simmer a bit. Yet, given the mood I was in when I sat down at the desk this morning, I am celebrating this small moment.


Michelle said...

Persimmons! As soon as I read that word in your post, I had a collision of memories from our College Street place. Li-Young Lee, Contemporary Lit, that blue chair in our living room, our post-senior-thesis party, Steve T., and of course, Bob Persimmons. Happy, happy times.

Sandy Longhorn said...

M. awwww such GREAT memories. Anytime I read that word, I'm right back there with you!

Anonymous said...

I ordered PRAIRIE FEVER last week, can't wait to get it.

Come to think of it, I'm waiting for a number of books/chaps in the mail. I'd better rein it in!

I love the word "persimmon".

Hooray for drafting! I find it the best meds for rejections there is. Glad you're on track!

Sandy Longhorn said...

M., just got my package of chapbooks from Dancing Girl Press that I ordered from their winter sale: 5 books for $20, including shipping. Seriously! How cool is that?

Anonymous said...

Yep, I'm waiting for my order from DGP, too! 5 for $20 is an awesome deal that I am completely incapable of passing by!