A Draft (!) and my mother to thank for it

I had convinced myself there would be no time for drafting this week. Thanksgiving on Thursday. No school on Wednesday. Appointments on Tuesday. That left today for holiday shopping and, most important, for purchasing pie plates. I am the pie-maker for our California family Thanksgiving. I take this responsibility very seriously. And my pie plates are too shallow and insufficient in number to feed the crowd. So, I thought I'd run up to the College Town to buy pie plates today.

My mom said no.

She said for-heavens-sake-buy-some-foil-pie-pans-at-the-grocery-store-and-go-to-the-library-to-write.

Mom, you rock! I took your good advice!

So I went to the library and got set up to work by my favorite, sunny window. I then promptly fell asleep, deep enough to dream. Then I woke up and got to work.

My process for the last two weeks or so has been to read a couple pages of Carolyn Forche's long poem "On Earth" from her collection Blue Hour. I read, scribble down phrases and words that seem to be important, and make notes about what I think might be going on in the poem (I am never sure as there is very little narrative or connective tissue in this poem). Then I take the words and mix them up with some of my favorite words, and draft lines. Since last week, I have been writing the lines in on my post-it notes for the twenty little poetry projects.

I continued that process today, never expecting to go toward a draft with it, but the Mail Order Bride began speaking. She said, Kind Sir / I am a map / You may unfold me. She said, Make our bed / A prairie a nest / For our bones / Their hushed mingling / Come to me in the hour / Of fading thresholds. Kind of a forward gal, isn't she? I worked slowly, as has been the case for all the MOB drafts, going back and forth from my notebook and the computer, culling lines and images from the post-it notes, sometimes adding, sometimes taking away. I ended up with a draft of 53 (yikes! that's a ton for me) very short lines. The draft ends with a question: Kind Sir how will I know you? Which, in my opinion, summarizes the mystery that is marriage in seven words :).

So, today I learned a few things. One is that we all need people in our lives to support our life's work, to keep us on the road when we tend toward the ditch, to remind us of who we are and what's most important. Another is that you can draft a ton of lines in just a few days if you're willing to stop by your desk between loads of laundry, sinks full of dishes, boo-boos to kiss, and peace treaties to negotiate (or between whatever activities fill your days). And lastly, that a catnap by a sunny window at the library is the very definition of bliss.

Now I will go home and be a happy baker of pies. And a poet, too.


drew said...

Hooray -- for lines, poems, pies and support!

Ms. WK said...

What a beautiful post! :-) for you!

CitricSugar said...

Mums are great for a nudge in the right direction and doing the practical thing so that the art has room to breathe. :-)