Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Do Not Disturb: The Writer is Writing
We blog, we read, we submit, we find a way to pay the bills . . . and sometimes, if we're lucky, we get to do some actual writing. As in poesy. As in, cutting individual words from a newspaper, putting them into a Ziploc bag, then grabbing a handful (like you'd grab a handful of nuts) and forming them into poetry (I know, it's not exactly what the surrealists had in mind, but that's my need to control). Or riffing on another poet's riffs (Heidi Lynn Staples: my guru of the week). Or pulling up your ms. and trying to figure out, for the umpteenth time, the ordering of poems in the 3rd section (okay, not exactly writing, but needs to be done if you want a book, so you can read more, submit more, pay more bills . . .).
I wish I had a picture of the place where I had the good fortune of spending 44 hours last week, but the owner who lent me her studio would probably prefer I didn't do that anyway. Let's just say it was in the woods, near a big body of ocean-y water, and very, very cozy. I did not get off my butt except to take one 1-hour walk. I slept on a Therma-rest pad. In a sleeping bag. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cold cereal, apricots, a few pieces of chocolate. Except for the cost of the room ($25 a night) and the ferry to and from Seattle ($34), I did not spend a penny. I wrote drafts of five new poems and whittled down my ms. to 50 pages (there was flab that needed to be cut). And yes, I think I now have the 3rd section in the right order.
I got back to town and went straight to Pho Bac for a big bowl of beef noodle soup with my hubby and kids. In the space of a few minutes, my transition back to the life I live--papers, lists, appointments, disgruntled students, lines, money, pick ups and drop offs, a kid with school-play anxiety, a kid who insists on wearing 11 shirts and 5 pairs of pants/shorts, mounds of laundry, dust, crumbs, downright dirt, owies to be kissed, a filthy microwave, and a bunch of dying plants--was complete. But I have the poems to prove I was there.