Draft, Fever

Yesterday, after two weeks away, I finally had some drafting time again.  Husband took the Bean and Sister out to run errands and to the Bean's basketball game.  AJ had a slight fever, so stayed home with strict instructions not to bother Mom unless there was an emergency.

Whenever I sit down to write (whether on a drafting day, or for a shorter block of time to read and revise) I write out my goals for the day.  Yesterday's goals were:

--Read Jeanne Murray Walker, sec. 2 from New Tracks, Night Falling - Choices.  Work one poem; word bank.
--Learning: W. Bishop read/notes pp. 127-134, ex. 134 for warm up
--List work
--2 drafts:  (1) cranberry; (2) from list work: images of waiting

In the morning, I made my way through the Jeanne Murray Walker poems and jotted down a bunch of words that I thought were striking, interesting, or seemed important to the poet for a word bank to use later (I originally got the idea of the word bank from Sandy Longhorn on her blog).  Then I went through the designated pages of Wendy Bishop's book Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem, which covered the ghazal.

Then it was time for a "study break" -- lunch, and a check-in on AJ.  His fever was holding steady at 100.2 and he'd had Advil an hour before, so I felt okay about going back to my desk.

Next came the list work.  This is my name for one method of generating new work using another poem as a jumping-off point.  I chose to work up Jeanne Murray Walker's "Bergman" (read it here), which begins at the movies.  She moves through first love, misunderstanding, the film getting stuck, and eventually cut.  She moves into thoughts about choices, about crossing lines, and free will.  My list work for this started with making a list of iconic movies that are important to me, that I might have something to say about as poet.  Next a list of first loves (people, places, things); what I learned from them; what I didn't learn; what I didn't want to know.  Next a list of phrases borrowing her first line and filling in blanks:  "I am at the (movies) practicing the discipline/of the (sane)."  Next, a list of nature sounds and what they say to me (as Walker says the sound of the wind in the trees is "the sound of god weeping").  All these lists go into my list work notebook, which is full of, yes, lists, and has a table of contents at the front so I can find a list easily.  Many, many times this list work has brought poems out that I might never have attempted.

With that done, I moved on to drafting and wrote out a quick draft of a poem about cranberries and their transformations, after Connie Wanek, who did a poem like this about pumpkins (can't find this poem online - sorry).  Next I went back to list work I had done previously, to work on images of waiting.  I had six images, all taken from times I spent waiting at the World Famous Medical Clinic.  I decided I'd write a brief, prose, image-driven poem from each image, and got through the first one when AJ came in saying he didn't feel well.

Well, I figured, I just checked his temp.  He'll be all right for a while.  I'll keep working.  Told him I wasn't quite finished and sent him back to the couch.

I got through two more of the images.  Interestingly, I found myself writing with my eyes closed, which somehow let the words come more freely.  Then AJ came back again.  AJ, I said, just give me a few more minutes. I'm really almost done.

One more short prose piece and he was back again saying he really didn't feel good.  I decided he just needed a hug from mom, so I gave him one and felt how hot he was.  Took his temperature:  104 degrees.

Needless to say, I left my draft in flagrante and there it still sits, undone and flaming here and there.  But duty called.  I hope to get back to it on Tuesday morning.  The rest of my afternoon was all pushing the liquids and sponge baths.  The fever's down a bit now, and I trust the words will be waiting for me when I can get back to them.

And thus ends another episode in the life of the Mom Trying to Write.  Emphasis on trying.


Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the mention. So glad you had some writing time!

Molly said...

You're welcome, Sandy. I love the word bank -- it gets me places I'd not otherwise go.