Monday, February 1, 2016

Juice to Spare

It's Sunday night as I'm writing this, and I've had such a productive weekend that I don't want to pack it in and watch Rifftrax in bed like usual. I want to read some more, or write some more.

I did almost all of my homework for the coming week: I read an entire prose poetry book, I read Gertrude Stein and Deleuze/Guattari and Susan Sontag (though I think I barely understood the first two), I wrote two blog posts for one class and invented a neologism for another, I read Kafka's Metamorphosis for the first time since high school, I read a chapter of a linguistics book, and I wrote one-third of a little experimental story. Woo! That's so much that I should be tired, on Sunday night, but it's only week one of the semester, so I have juice to spare

I also wrote a wee bit of the secret project, and read some of it out loud to Matt. That was pretty exciting. I have had trouble with the idea of sharing this, and with the idea of not sharing it. It feels like a lonely project, but rightfully so; I know it's very unpolished; and the segments of it I've sent to friends have been roundly ignored. This last could be coincidence (busy lives, etc.) but it's possible that it's actually that unpolished and I have kind friends who would rather say nothing. Reading this bit out to Matt felt so necessary, felt like a letting-in (that is, letting him in to the project, letting anyone have a foot in the door to it) that I needed to do in order to continue. When I was finished, he looked at me and gestured go on, but that was all I'd written so far, which I told him, and he made a sad face. I think that's a good sign. 

The little experiment is with the idea of a sestina, which is CRAZY, did you know that? 

Fitting words into such mathematically precise boxes sounds impossible to me, though I do understand how restriction can lead to a more interesting project and product. I am no poet, so I'm interpreting the form as loosely as possible, doing six prose sections with connecting narratives and repeating, at the close of each section, slight variations on a Biblical phrase that I haven't been able to get out of my mind for months now. So far it's interesting but not amazing, though I've got a ridiculously small word limit here and I look forward to trying this again elsewhere, with more room and characters who matter more to me. 

Unrelated: I think that Magnolia may be a nontraditional sestina. 

I looked through my notebook and I have a bunch of different ways to go in terms of creative writing over the next few months. Two of my classes will require a finished story. I have one idea that I think is very good, and which could probably work for either class, but I'm not quite sure how to start. I have other concept-ideas that need content. I have an essay simmering so hard that it's leaking steam and sizzling up the stove, but that won't do for either class, since it's not fiction and can't be disguised as such. One of the classes allows novel excerpts, but I don't really see how I can incorporate one of the secret project's stories with the course content, even if I do [re]write the whole story during the semester (which would only be fair). 

I also need to get on submitting. Now that "The First Snow" has failed to win a short story contest in which I entered it, I need to look at it again and get it out. (It's so generic, in a way, so suitable for a variety of markets, that I'm not sure where to go with it first.) The Kathy Ireland story has to start going out, too, though I have one market specifically in mind for it that's not open now. And I need to gussy up this really difficult thing I wrote and start sending it, because if I wait until I feel ready to send it out, I never will be, and so it has to go. The difficult thing needs a title, though, because the current title sucks. Anyone got a title they're not using? Weird suggestions considered. 

Did that read like bookkeeping, the last two paragraphs? Too dry? I'm sorry, if so. I'll get back to topics when my work gets a little more rhythmic. 

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