Thursday, March 14, 2013

Draft Process: Home Ec 101

45º ~ headed for 70º today and nearing 80º for Fri/Sat ~ wahooooooooooo! ~ bright, clear skies, spring breezes tease the tattered remains of the privet tree outside the window, beaten down by the Xmas storm, new leaves are budding

Credit this draft process with chaos. The first line struck me from out of the blue, on one of the planes home from AWP 2013 (Boston).  I saw either an ad or a typographic poem that featured the image of a hive in cross section with words on it, now I'm thinking it was definitely a poem.  In any case, out of nowhere, I heard in my head, "The angry sisters were born with no hive mind."  I scribbled it down in the back of my Zone 3 notebook (see earlier post about forgetting my journal).  And then, chaos ensued.

I hit the ground running Sunday evening and haven't stopped until this moment, catching up on student emails, doing laundry, restocking the kitchen, teaching, prepping, grading, &etc.  Somewhere in there I caught a few hours of sleep each night.  Last night, as I was thinking about today, I planned to go into campus a bit later because I will be attending a fund raiser tonight that will keep me on campus until 9 or so (with a silent art auction, where I always SCORE!)  In any case, the point of this is that in all the chaos, I wasn't even really thinking that Thursday morning = drafting time.  Somewhere around 5 a.m. when the cats started wanting their breakfasts, it dawned on me that YES, I was going to draft a poem, come hell or high water.

As I went through my ablutions (can't do anything until my [non-religious] ablutions are through...blessings to those who can pop up and start to write!), the line came back, "no hive mind."  Hmmmm.  As I was pouring my cereal, but before I'd gotten to the milk, a whole ton of lines just cascaded down on me.  So, I went back to the desk, sans cereal, and started writing, quickly b/c I was STARVING.  Once I'd gotten to the end of the initial rush, about ten lines, I went back and ate my breakfast.  Those ten lines were waiting for me when I was ready to draft, and with a bit of pushing, a bit of prodding, I turned out a three stanza, 19-line poem.  The stanzas are four lines, seven lines, eight lines, and the lines are all around eight syllables and between four and five stresses. The title, "Home Ec 101," did not come easily and I'm not sure it is a fit.  However, this subject matter is so very different from the sickly speaker, who lent herself to my lifting titles from several poets I love (aka Lucie Brock-Broido, Mary Ann Samyn, and Emily Dickinson), that I'm not really able to follow the same method here.  Instead, I'm back to sifting through the dark for a title.  Minor complaint, given the fact that amidst the chaos, I did, in fact, draft a poem today.



Carol Berg said...

Love that line, about the hive mind. Really fascinating. AWP must have triggered some ideas! Congrats!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Carol. I'm sure there are more ideas in there amidst the chaos. Hopefully some calm days over Spring Break will coax them to the surface.

Kathleen said...

Wahoo for the poem, eating, and the 80s.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Kathleen, at first I was like "the 80s? I wrote about the 1980s?" and then I remembered the weather! Yes, wahoooooo!

John Vanderslice said...

That's pretty daring to leave a bowl of cereal soaking to go write a poem. It's kind of like setting the kitchen timer and saying "I must be done by the time it buzzes!" Congrats on pulling it off. Once again, you might have given me a whole new idea for a creative writing prompt: Pour milk into cereal and then write a complete poem before the time when the cereal becomes uneatable. For anyone who cares about food, this would be quite an incentive.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh John, the soggy cereal is a great motivator. Luckily, I hadn't poured the milk!