Tuesday, February 11, 2014

These last two or three weeks I've been putting together a chapbook manuscript for a submission that's due soon.  Many of the poems in it had their beginnings during my December 30/30 Project experience with Tupelo Press.  And so, I've been going deeper into what that experience held, and still holds, for me as I've gone about revisions, listened for the order the poems want, and waited for the title to show itself.  The manuscript is resting now.  In a few days I'll read it once more and click "submit".

As I think about the 30/30 experience as I write this, I realize that writing a poem a day and putting it before others in first draft form has taken me into the heart of an exquisite vulnerability.  For me, now more so than ever, the act of writing begins with seeing---no pen, no paper, no laptop, no jottings on scraps of paper, and when I'm most attentive, no thought of words. When I open my notebook, my intention is to trust the memory my body holds of that experience of "seeing"---a child playing, a plate of food, a disturbing image of violence, the ice garden on the window in the back room, the blue, white and shadows of a cold, raw day like today---and then put the first words to paper.  No concern for form or craft at this point, just getting what I remember of what I saw on the page.

I do like calling this an exquisite vulnerability.  It is a way of going about my writing that opens me to what's around me with the controls off.  I sometimes wonder if it's actually not quite so "mystical"  a moment, and just a matter of getting old.  Either way, I'm happy.  And I'm writing more poems that ever before.