Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day Seven: Draft-a-Day

up another two degrees to 88 ~ forgot to mention full sun, but we are so lucky most of our house is shaded ~ if you don't believe in the power of trees, please contact me and I'll testify

Oh my, Dear Faithful Readers! You may notice my earlier post about Allison Titus' book and my certitude that I'd have a draft today. I must confess that was pure bravado (or would that be bravada in the female sense?). I just wasn't sure what would happen, but today was one of those slick-as-a-whistle, quick-as-a-lick drafting sessions. Wheeeeeeeee! I'm giddy and high with it.

The story of today's draft, a bit fragmented:

The whole time I sit at the computer now, I'm fixated on my posture. This is all part of my physical therapy to repair the muscles I damaged in my lower back. The kneeling chair is the best for me, because I can't cheat and lean back. Sometimes, the words of my physical therapist echo in my head. Today's draft is called "Body Work" and it contains some of those words. It begins, "The hips are a compass / and the spine should align / dead center." Not word for word what my PT said, but close.

The thing is, when I first opened my journal and began rambling, I noted that I thought I might write about doors left unlocked b/c C. had just told me I'd left the door unlocked after getting the paper. Sadly, we live in a place where thieves have been known to open doors (with the residents at home!) and grab purses or keys that have been left right inside. After I'd doodled on about the doors and locks, I added that I might also write about "how hard it is to retrain the body" and voila that's what today's draft turned out to be.

I'm hesitant because the poem is completely autobiographical and it is definitely about my own struggles with my own body. My very first national publication was in Natural Bridge and the poem was called "Reasons Why I Diet." It was sooooo transparent and, in my mind, earnest. The guest editor mentioned it in her introductory note. Not only did she get my name wrong and call me "Sally" (the horrors! offense to any Sally's out there, the name just doesn't fit me), but also she thought the poem was humorous and me a writer who "makes us laugh out loud." Ouch, that stung a bit. Ah, I've just learned that Sally Longhorn is listed on the website's table of contents for this issue as well, although it was correct in the ToC of the printed version. Sigh.

In any case, I haven't written a poem about my own specific body since then. Once this new draft had found a stopping point (who knows if this is where it will really end), I reread it and felt the shadow of that sting, the impulse to hide the draft as it might reveal too much about me personally and might be misread as well.

And yet, that's the thing I love about drafting with no particular project in mind. What rises to the surface is a new surprise ever day. As always, I have no idea if this draft will survive the revision process; however, for now, I'm going to celebrate that at the end of the first week, I'm 6 for 7 in terms of getting my pen on paper and then my fingers on the keys to craft something that resembles poetry.


Jessie Carty said...

Wish I could read your poem. I have a whole chapbook called Fat Girl that I'm trying to find a publisher for :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Jessie, I'll email you the poem. It's old and very different from what I'm writing these days.

Suzanne said...

I'm simpatico with your back pain, Sister. I sit here with a pinched nerve and sciatica as I write this, and I've been working hard on improving my posture as well.

I'm enjoying your draft-a-day posts!

In solidarity,

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ah, Suzanne, it's amazing how many writers have back issues. Workman's comp anyone? Thanks for the sympathy and solidarity!