Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day Nine: Draft-a-Day

88 deg ~ a bit of a late start at the desk of the Kangaroo today, the forecast is set on repeat (heat and humidity and sun), eating fresh Arkansas blueberries and Georgia peaches

Another day, another draft!  I don't know why I'm so surprised, but I am.  I do know that there will be much more work to do on these during revision.

Today, I sat down with my journal and, as usual, fumbled about without knowing what to write.  I kept coming back to the fact that today was Day Nine (image from  Eventually, I decided to write a poem called "Nine for the Ninth Day" and I would write a nine-line poem with each line being nine syllables...very reminiscent of Sylvia Plath's "Metaphors," I confess, although without the riddle and subject matter.  (Sorry, no link to the poem online.)  I made it through three lines of counting syllables and I gave up.  I have stated before and I'll state it again, I'm not a formalist.  When I have to start thinking about syllables or meter or rhyme, I get completely pulled out of the poem.  I can't drive a stick shift either because it requires me to multi-task in a similar way.  A connection?

Abandoning my nine poem, I grabbed the Charles Wright book, Country Music, which was still on my desk from yesterday.  I decided to fall back to my word bank and random pairs of words exercise to get me going (process explained on Day One).  Sometimes I do feel a little bit weak for needing a launching pad, but perhaps this is just because I'm not writing toward a specific subject matter.  Today, I gathered up the words and made the pairs and nothing really leaped out at me.  Eventually, my brain started scanning the page and making its own connections and I came up with "there's a notch in the breath, / some secret root taking hold of the lungs," and I went from there.  I still used the Wright words as fodder, but I didn't worry about the pairs.  As I wrote the first couple of couplets (my old standby), I also remembered one of my favorite lines from Alice Walker's story "Everday Use."  Well, actually, I misremembered it.  The line I love is Mama's epiphany about Maggie: "This was Maggie's portion. This was the way she knew God to work."  What I remembered and took for the title of this draft was this: "The Way She Knows the World to Work."  Something that surprised me about the draft is that it is about a speaker with a troubled life, but I'm not the least bit troubled.  It reminds me of another thing I'm not very good at, which is writing the celebratory/happy poem.

Just looked at the draft again, and wouldn't you know it, it's composed of nine couplets.  Honestly, I wasn't consciously thinking about the number any more.  The nine couplets are broken down into three sets of three, where each set repeats a phrase: "Some days...," "Everywhere,...," and "Sanctuary is... ."  Weird how the mind works ~ weird and fun.

Oh, and I also realized that some of you, Dear Readers, might have joined the Kangaroo recently and not know about the inspiration cards to which I keep referring (Day 6 and Day 8).  You can read about where I got the idea and how they work here and here.


Anonymous said...

"Metaphors" changed my entire relationship to poetry my senior year in high school. It was the first time my mind took that effortless leap and flowed with the metaphors.

You have the coolest titles!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Marie. Usually titles are the worst for me. But somehow they've really been flowing.