JePoWriMo: Day 29

I have never written so many poems in my life! Ever. Wheeeee! That’s all I can say. I’ve finished the first two sections. Now I’m off to print it all out. I printed out the first section and was shocked at the amount of paper that came out. I’ve filled one notebook longhand with rough drafts of these things. It’s amazing how much drivel comes out–and how much I am sure is still there.

One more week to finish the third section and it’ll be all in rough draft form! That’s a rather satisfying NaNoWriMo experiment.

JePoWriMo: Day 25

Due to the slowness of my progress, the CWCers have graciously granted me the opportunity to turn in what I have and then email them the rest. Yeesh.

On the good news front regarding FJR–another agent has graciously requested to read a partial. Yay! Fingers crossed that she loves it and wants all of it and then she’ll love that and then she’ll take me on and submit to editors who will also love it who in turn will sell it to bookstores who love to sell it. And then I’ll love everyone. Feel the love? It’s such a great feeling.

JePoWriMo: Day 19

Still going too slow! Even with this new great thing, I’m going way too slow! I’m halfway through the first part, though.

I don’t think I’ll have as many poems to cut as I wanted to initially–instead of going from 120 to 60, I might wind up going from 90 to 60. Which means a tighter rewrite scheme.

Trying to remember what Ali said: quanitity, not quality. Quantity. Quantity. Quantity.

Quality later.

JePoWriMo: Day 14

Still trucking along. Hopefully finish the first third of the thing by tomorrow. I’m starting to hit a stride of some kind…if not THE stride. We’ll see.

JePoWriMo: Day 12

First off: Happy Birthday to my brother Matt.

Second Off: An interesting phenomenon is happening to my dear friend Ali today. After many months of work (years?) on a creative project–namely a collection of short stories called Into the Water–today she is being asked to defend what she has done.

Interesting idea to me: defending a creative work. Asked: Why does what you did matter? How can it relate to what’s already out there in the world? Why is your brain child special?

I don’t like the idea of having to defend what you put out. But this is a necessary step, I think. If you can answer these questions, if you can come up with a clear reason why you did what you did, then I think you earn the right to say that you own your work. Otherwise it’s “I just threw shit on paper and called it art.” Nuh-uh. Doesn’t work that way.

Also, being able to answer these questions, these inquiries into your ‘intention’ (oh, be still my heart…author’s intentions don’t count, right?) mean that you know whether you were successful in your endeavour or not. Thinking analytically–once the work is actually done–means that you can learn from your mistakes and make the next piece of work better, hopefully.

Ali had to go seven steps further than most of us writers do and create an actual paper on her own work. Weirdly meta. Here’s to cheering her on: she knows what she’s doing, that one.

It got me to thinking about my poetry collection. I have changed mid-stream partly because I think that on some intuitive level, I knew that what I was originally writing was self-serving drivel…all the stuff I despise about poetry. The weaker poetry. Not to mention I was having no fun. Now, though I have a lot of work ahead of me, I’m much more excited about what I’m doing.

I’ll come up with the why later.

JePoWriMo: Day 9

Redo! (The poetry book that is.)

I have had an epiphany. And it is good. But you have to wait for it. I’m not telling yet. Let me just say that a creative bolt of lightning struck my little head while driving down to see the Sandra Cisneros reading.

And about Ms. Cisneros.

She’s great. Really lively and beautiful. Soooo funny. Funnier than I expected.

She’s also very giving. Check this out:

Juliana is a former classmate of mine at CSU-Pueblo and she has written a book of poetry. Somehow, Sandra Cisneros gets a hold of this book and reads it this weekend before her talk. At the talk itself she gushes over Juliana’s book. She offers to blurb the book. In front of everyone. And Juliana had no idea that Cisneros even knew she existed…you could see it in her suddenly red and exhilerhated face. Juliana actually shrieked a little (and really, who can blame her?). It was an awe-and-jealousy-inspiring moment. It was so cool.

After that, Cisneros read from some of her work. She has a new book of essays coming out called Writing In My Pajamas and I’ll be all over that when it comes out. She also talked about, what else? Writing.

Cisneros’s two rules for writing:
1. Do no harm. You should only bring good into the world. You don’t have to talk about happy subjects, but don’t do any damage out in the real world.
2. (Which may seem to contradict the first rule) Tell the truth. If you write about real people–you change their names, you use composites, but don’t hurt anyone (see Rule 1). Write from you heart. El Corazon.

JePoWriMo: Day 8

We will be taking a break during the poetry proceedings today.

Because today Sandra Cisneros is giving a reading/signing in Pueblo and that’s where I’ll be. A little inspiration never hurt.

Plus Cisneros relates to all of my current projects:
Poetry: she writes it and publishes (publishing of poetry being a rarer thing than you suppose)
La Llorona: Hello! One of her books is Woman Hollering Creek, also a reflection on this southwest story.
YA Novel: While House on Mango Street is not a YA, per se, it is taught from middle school on up (I know because I have sold this book hand over fist to multiple schools in preperation for, well, today as a matter of fact.

Right now, in my brain, she seems the perfect person to intercede as a mentor–so I’ll let her mentor from her talk today.

JePoWriMo: Day 7

Progress is being made–just not in a calculable fashion.

A few pages have been written. Just me cutting loose and getting words down. Because, like the brilliant Ali says: quantity, not quality.

So I’ve decided to write freestyle, trying to use a lot of repetition with the words. After all, sestinas repeat six words six times over, at least. With the repetition, I at least have some guage on where my stanzas/lines should be. Then I can cut and paste and then cut and paste again.

The good news about rocking the poetry out freestyle first (by freestyle I mean not worrying about a damn thing–including punctuation) is that a lot of really random, weird, and beautiful things start popping up. You think you’re gonna talk about one thing and throw it up on the top of the page as a working title, and then BAM! (as the great Emeril would say) something totally new and unexpected comes up.

It’s been a while since I’ve let the gunk that’s in my brain spill out onto the page, but there’s some neat bits coming out as well.

Even though I remain a bit frustrated, I’m learning. And I guess, in the end, that’s the point.

JePoWriMo: Day 6

To encourage ‘riffing’ and less ‘worrying’ I need everyone to give me six words.


JePoWriMo: Day 5

Panickingly slow is how it’s going. I don’t know if panickingly is a real word but I’m using poetic license.

So far: 6 poems that are actually in a full rough draft form. About 7 where I have a line or more.

November sucks for doing any of these kinds of things. Especially this November for some reason. I realized that I work seven days straight right before Thanksgiving–one of those being a holiday meeting in which I have to work about 12 hours.

I do a lot of my writing on Thursdays because I don’t have to work until later and the kids are both in school. However, today (Thursday) Owen has a play so I switched my hours to work earlier–and I won’t be able to really write tonight because, well, Owen has a play. Then Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, so there goes another one.

And who the hell can think up 120 different subjects for poems? I’m hitting a wall. (I’m trying to stay positive, and think about all those great times when you push yourself and get the really creative ideas…but the positivity isn’t sticking.)