Friday, June 11, 2010

Day Five: Draft-a-Day

77 deg ~ if yesterday was gray, today is positively black, storms throughout the night, rain coming down in sheets though not perpetually, windows still specked with water

I knew this 14 day write-a-thon would be a challenge, and it is living up to my expectations.  Perhaps, my pace is more the once-a-week drafter, and that will be okay, but I'm determined to see the 14 days through.  Today, I began by reading over the drafts in my "In Progress" folder.  There are a few from April and May, and then the three I'd already completed in this brave new attempt to write a draft a day.  I'm proud of these drafts and feel that they all may well survive.  Today's results, not so much. 

Without an immediate spark, I decided to try another launching platform today.  In this one, I copy out sentences from some work of prose and then replace each noun, verb, adjective, and adverb with either words of my own or words I've gathered from various other sources.  This is a bit like a Mad Lib.  Once it's been filled it, I redraft the poem into lines and allow variances to emerge from the original sentences.  This has been highly successful for me in the past.  Today, given that the Bruce Metcalf catalogue was right at my elbow, I turned to one of the prose pieces about his work and picked a few sentences for my framework.  Then, I decided I would copy out all the major words from his titles and use those as my word bank, along with any words I brought to the table on my own.  After ten minutes of trying to force the puzzle to take shape, I knew the process wasn't going to work today.  However, I did come up with these two lines on my own during the process:  "No longer queen -- / a body betrayed."  I flipped to a clean page in my journal and wrote:  "Detained in a braided cotton cage / No longer queen -- a body betrayed."  There, that felt right.  There was an energy in the lines that I felt would go somewhere, so I started drafting.  After three more couplets (my favorite drafting form, often revised out), I saw that all three couplets ended on slantish rhymes  "cage / betrayed," "wound / bruise," and "fever / fervor" so I thought aha, almost heroic couplets...just missing the iambic pentameter.  So I started fiddling in that direction, and alas, Dear Faithful Reader, somewhere along the way, the wheels came off that wagon.  (Oh, I'm just full of cliches today!)

Still, I have something typed up and printed out to put in the folder, and I can say without hesitation that I'm 4 of 5 in my drafting challenge.  This one may be the weakest of all, but that doesn't mean there isn't something there I can return to in due course.  That's one of the wonders of being a writer.  The material is malleable. 

Thanks for taking this journey with me, Dear Readers.  Knowing you are out there keeps me honest and motivated!

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