day 3: Self-Designed Part-Time 7-Day From Scratch With a Little Bit of Crazy Mixed In Writing Residency

public domain from wikimedia as usual

Day 3 and this is where the little bit of crazy gets mixed in. Somehow when I was planning my little non-residency I forgot that parents don’t always get a good night’s sleep (of course this is also true for non-parents). Last night, many wakings. Strange noises setting one child on edge. Discussion of how everything’s a little bit scarier at night. Rubbing of back. Back to bed. Later, strange sensation of someone watching me. Bony little treasure of a girl in my bed. Taking said girl back to bed. Rubbing of back. Etc.

So when my 4:45 alarm went off, no, I did not get up. Still when I did wake up later, I headed straight to my desk with a goal of one draft.

I’m reading Kathleen Flenniken’s Plume right now. It’s a really interesting book that weaves the personal story and the historical facts of life in a town where a nuclear reactor was the main source of jobs and economic development. As I go along, I’m keeping a list of interesting words and poetic strategies, and trying to put them to use in my drafts this week.

Today’s draft was from the “Breaking the Sentence” prompt by Roger Mitchell in The Practice of Poetry. This exercise asks us to break the usual pattern of sentences in order to focus only on the things (objects) present in a poem, noting that “writing will often seem as if it were made by the sentence rather than by a freed imagination.” Mitchell asks us to remember that “the objective world is our best (perhaps only) source of images, and that poems are made of things.” The rule of the prompt is to write a poem of sentences (or fragments) that communicate only objects.

I kind of followed the prompt, focusing mainly on objects/images, but allowing a little bit of connective tissue in. The effort toward images kept my draft from becoming too narrative, which I liked very much. The draft’s title is “Drowning,” in keeping with my thoughts around accidents.

One thing I’ll often do before drafting a poem is look up the etymology of key words. This sometimes leads to lines to include in the poem. In today’s draft, the etymology of the word “drown” opens the poem: “To be swallowed by water taken whole, / but no they say drowning is the worst way // to go… .” Here’s the etymology website I use when I’m too lazy to get up and open my favorite etymology dictionary.

So far, I’ve noticed that the drafts I’ve worked on this week are from the perspective of a mother. Imagine that! Also, I forgot to mention earlier that all the drafts are going straight into the Resting Drawer and I’m not peeking on them until next week. This takes more self-control than I thought it would. I really like to check on new drafts to make sure they’re still there :).

See you back here tomorrow for day 4. I think I’m going to go take a nap.

5 thoughts on “day 3: Self-Designed Part-Time 7-Day From Scratch With a Little Bit of Crazy Mixed In Writing Residency

  1. Molly,

    Your plans for submitting this summer (SOS) and now your own writing course have really prompted me to keep up with my reading and summarizing. I especially like that you include links to your references. Right now I’m back teaching gross anatomy so there’s not very much time for other types of writing, but in December, after the course is over, I’ll return to more attempts at writing poetry and fiction (many thanks to you).


    • Cylia, thanks so much for letting me know. I’m so glad! I don’t want this blog to be simply a log of what I do all day (that would be not-so-interesting) — I really want it to be a place to share resources, learn from each other, spread the poetry, etc. Good for you for letting the seasons of your life flow while keeping your writing life alive, too.

  2. Thanks for the online etymology dictionary! So much easier than getting up! Ha ha.

    I’ve been following along with you everyday so far, but I haven’t written much yet. If I ever get to bed tonight, I’m hoping to have a day of writing tomorrow (today), and some time on the weekend.

    You are so good not to peek at the drafts. I get a little obsessive about mine sometimes so they really could benefit from “a resting drawer” as well. 🙂

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