Friday, January 8, 2021

I don't suppose you're finding it easy to work. I know I'm not. My shoulders ache, my jaw aches: my body is carrying so much tension, and I am struggling to concentrate. Finally, yesterday afternoon, I gave up and went to bed for a while. I thought I might read a Dorothy Sayers novel--something plain and predictable--but all I did was close my eyes. And actually I felt a lot better afterward. I made sausage tacos for dinner; we played cards by the fire. Enjoying a family card game without checking the news on my phone: that felt like a real success.

Oddly, though, I also wrote two poem drafts: one first thing in the morning, the other late in the afternoon. I think I mentioned that I'm taking part in Art in Common Places, a Sarasota-based project that pairs a poet with a painter, who together will create a collaborative broadside that will be posted around the city. The painter I'm working with is named Kathy Wright, and she and I have six weeks to create our collaboration. In conversation, we've decided to work with the theme accident, and our shared touchstones are the number 14 (I'm writing sonnets) and the notion of abrasion.

So yesterday I wrote Accident Sonnets #1 and #2 . . . each  is 14 narrow lines, composed in plain-speak: nothing flowery, letting the awkwardness flow . . . two drafts that are accidents of expression, at a moment when I feel nearly silent.

I've said so many times: Writing poems is not therapy. But it is work. It is active thought. It is a groping stretch toward the future.

Maybe you don't think you can write at this moment. But maybe you're wrong. I was. 

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