The Draft That Never Was

I’ve had a lot of trouble getting myself to write a draft lately. After AWP, I was in full edit mode when it came to my manuscript, Predator’s Tongue. After that, I got sick and hunkered down to watch entire seasons of shows like Downton Abbey on Netflix while praying for less mucus. After getting somewhat better, my anxiety over my surgery this Friday has been ratcheting up, and I’m having to do anything I can not to have a meltdown and/or go catatonic.

Really, the nicest thing I could do for myself this morning (when I also woke up an hour and a half earlier than I should have. Damn Daylight Savings Time.) was to sit and write. But, I didn’t. I opened up a word document, typed the word “Hyacinthus,” a character from Greek mythology I want to write about, and then left it. I spent the rest of the time editing some poems that I’m going to be printing out and sending on today, looked over the template I need to make my thesis work in to appease the Graduate School and University Council gods, and then trolled through various Twitter feeds. Today, I have to sit and be. Editing, for whatever reason, is coming easier for me right now and maybe that’s okay.

I do, though, want to talk about Sandra Beasley’s book, I Was the JukeboxA friend of mine in my workshop let me borrow it since I’ve been writing myth poems as of late. It’s an absolutely lovely book. I’m so glad I got to read this gem. Beasley’s poems are funny. In “Another Failed Poem About the Greeks,” the speaker goes on a date with a Greek warrior (probably Perseus). They go to a carnival, ride rides like the “Scrambler” and the “Apple Turnover” (both sound like breakfast specials at Sonic). The speaker’s date is told to “please keep/ all swords inside the car.” I don’t write funny poems myself. Matt Cook, another graduate from the University of Memphis MFA program, is a hilarious poet, but I’m not. I’m serious and stuff. What I can take away from her collection is a sense of playfulness and attention to different voices (she takes on the identities of sand, a world war, an eggplant, Osiris, and a platypus, among others.).

Maybe I’ll need a sense of that “different voice” when and if I decide to write a poem from the point of view of my tumor…(After I told the poetry class I teach about my tumor, one of my students suggested I name it. One student said, “Name it after me!” Another said, “What about Sylvester?”)

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2 thoughts on “The Draft That Never Was

  1. I can relate to not writing funny stuff. I’m glad that Beasley’s book has opened a new window for you. It’s still on my too-read list, along with so many other good books.

    As for the rest, I’m thinking of you and the upcoming surgery. Send waves of strength and grace.

  2. If you haven’t had surgery before, maybe you can look at this as adding to your life experiences, making you a better poet! (don’t hit me) Waking up from anesthesia is, to me, an intensely interesting experience, and maybe it’s a good topic for a poem after you recover. It’s like waking up from a nothing, slowly regaining your senses. Like being born again except you remember it. When you get nervous remember everyone else will be doing the hard work. You just sleep and wake up after it’s all over, and you get pain pills.

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