Sunday, April 28, 2013

How We Long for a Stay

(Last Immersion Journal)

I can't believe the semester's about over – I think I said that in my last immersion journal. I have a small story I want to share – words that I found while intensely distracted. Words that have to be true to the core, because I barely thought of what I was saying before I spoke. In my interview on how my chapbook was being put together, I was asked if the fact that I don't get credit for this assignment meant that it was less important to me than my other work. 

I answered by saying it's never been about college credits or grades. It's all for the poetry. It's about learning as I go. It's about the challenge. It is me doing what I love – writing poetry.
College credit isn't an incentive to do well and finish the project strong – the incentive needs to come from the subject matter. If I am invested, then I am invested regardless of credits – and conversely, if I am not invested the result is less interest in the class as a whole. I think that's a commentary on me – rereading that, it sort of seems that I am kind of a terrible student in some aspects, but still present in order to learn. That's the goal, anyway. I guess if I don't feel I'm learning anything worthwhile, I simply act like a terrible student. 

But that's beside the point. The point is, it's a moment I realized I really am a writer. Who cares if I have money? Who cares if I have college credits? And that whole extra year in school? Not a problem. As long as I write, for whatever reason, it'll all be okay. Maybe I'm tearing up a bit focusing on this. Maybe it's kind of astonishing that my brain thought of this as I really concentrated on drawing out the letters of my poem with a quill pen. Maybe it didn't matter how uncomfortable and difficult that actual process is... it's always been about writing. It's interesting how much self-doubt I carry subconsciously as a person, despite mantras of positivity. It's interesting how often you have to tell yourself that you are good enough. But you find out what really matters in moments like this. I guess this is why some people need to be reminded before they speak – because sometimes what really matters to your mind isn't tactful to say out loud. 

I want to conclude this immersion journal with one more rhapsodomancy reading.
I ask this time – what is essential that I should know right now in order to move forward?

“This flowing which is in us
is us – hear
how it rasps, sings,

even, not with
but towards its own kind
of staying: and this, and

this, and this
it whispers.
How we long for a stay.” (Pardi pg. 23. Poem: Two Hands)

Poetry, essentially, will tell us everything we need to know, the more we delve into it. It is used in divination, and so it becomes a tool to connect to our intuition. I have journeyed quite a bit on this path, and I have tried my best to convey that which defines me over the course of this semester. So this time I ask you – what is this poem trying to say? What is your interpretation for me?

Monday, April 22, 2013

If You Want Something Enough, Magic Works.

I'm marveling at how little time we all have left for this semester. Granted, part of me is wishing it was already over. My brain, once overwhelmed, tends to do that. It's harder to want to do my other work... I've enjoyed the poetry and the fiction so much that I'm trying to pretend the other classes don't exist. I mean... it's not a good plan. But I've done so much in such a short span of time that the synapses don't even care to fire in ways that will make me pay attention. Maybe that was a little bit of an exaggeration, but only just so.
So, as for my chapbook – revision is daunting. It always is. It's a task I'm always up for – but I'm never sure when the poems are 'good enough.' I was talking to a friend and we discussed that sometimes it's good to give your brain space and work on other things. Maybe let the project ideas steep for a while. But college seems, thus far, to be set up in a way where there is simply no time to work on other things without feeling guilty for using the time better spent completing assignments. (I hate that. Oh, do I hate that.) In a way, it feels counterproductive – and … if I may be so bold … countercreative, too.
Back to the chapbook – I look forward to writing out everything. I can't explain why, but I love the old fashioned ink pens. I also love the kind of paper I am using for the book – and while it's not as “authentic looking” as writing on parchment, the ink will absorb better and make less of a mess. And, since I'm nerd about this, I couldn't be happier. I use the pen and ink to make sigils (like the signature sigil on the front and back cover of my chapbook) for my witchcraft, and have acquired a basic amount of skill in using them. Writing, apparently, was much more difficult back in the day. I can't yet do fancy calligraphy. The gods know my day-to-day handwriting is atrocious enough as it is, so it's incredibly difficult to steady my hand enough to do the fancy, artistic lettering. I'll do my best, though. Last time, with my other book Mythopoeia, it took a tremendous amount of effort to write out the book with regular pens. But I know I can do this. I want the look of an old fashioned pen being used, and so I'm going to go for it. It's all coming along quite nicely, I think. Once it's done, I'm going to try and scan in all the pages and make a digital copy of this one. I tried recording myself reading some of the poems out of Mythopoeia...but in a dorm, silence is only an abstract term used to describe the lighter din at 3-4am – recordings, then, are peppered with background noises and echoes.
I want to eventually make this chapbook something that could possibly be considered for publication. Which means more than 10 poems. And I think I already do have more than 10, but maybe not enough to make a “whole” chapbook with. One of the poems got published in the GLR this semester. Even though I love it, and they accepted it as-is – I almost want to cry that I didn't see ways to revise it before I sent it in to them. But I think revision of previously published pieces for a whole book is almost required. It has to be the best representation of your poetic self there is. I don't tend to separate my identity into smaller compartments – I am simultaneously a witch, a poet, a pagan, a student, a psychic, a writer, a reader, a thinker, a Pisces – it's all part of being a Katie Morton, you see. So, if the poems aren't the best representation they can be of my poetic self, they're also not the best representation they can be of me as a whole. And it's daunting. It really is. But we learn as we go, I suppose. I don't know what it means to have a literary agent or to be published outside of the GLR. But one day I'll figure that out. And I'll get back to you. And I'll have more to say and more wisdom to share.
I know from experience that if you want something enough, magic works. If I wanted nothing else in the entire world but this, to be a writer wholly and completely is it. I don't know what I'm getting into entirely. I mean, even I can't see every consequence to every step and action along the path. I will make progress though. Of that, at least, I can be sure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

At No Time is Change a Moment

(Immersion Journal ~)

In class last Thursday, I talked about Anne Carson's foreshadowing in “Autobiography of Red,” specifically the chapter “Ideas.” So why exactly did Herakles kill Geryon? Of course the answer is never simple, and each time I read this book, there's something new to be found – and new piece of the puzzle, a new answer. The truth is, no matter what we want to believe, there are so many different interpretations to the same questions. And the Powers that Be will let you interpret them wrong just to make a point and help you learn a lesson, right? (Maybe that's a bit off topic & not just about the book.)

My chapbook is entitled Hint of a Spark which is inspired by a small, incredibly and unfortunately relevant lyric of a song that I once sang to the other person. So far I've completed the pages – which are much larger than my chapbook last year, and aged by burning and this time with coffee. The covers are painted, and the lace ribbon has been bought for the stab-binding process. I've yet to write out the poetry – I need to go through workshop still – but when I do get to it, it'll be written with an old fashioned pen. Maybe if I'm lucky, my roommate will let me borrow her feather quill pen that she uses to write in her witch notebook – her “Book of Shadows & Paper Magic” as she calls it.

The artwork itself is refreshing – it's been a long time, and it feels like standing up and stretching after sleeping when I go paint again. That's not the challenge. What challenge I face now in constructing the book relates to what I started this journal entry with. Why did Herakles kill Geryon? Well, in one sense it's heartbreak, right? Or, as Geryon answers in the chapter “Ideas” – just violent.

 Which drives home my point – It's so difficult to write about bad things that hurt you without writing dramatically. Nobody wants to read a poem that's so soused in emotion that all the concrete details smear and become abstractions. At least I don't. I marvel at poets who can subtly tell their stories and then make us cry without outwardly screaming, “HEY EVERYONE! HEART'S BROKEN. YEAH. PAY ATTENTION TO ME.” It's honestly a difficult task and I don't know yet if I'm doing well.

 The good thing is that the writing is healing me. And now, as I proceed and as we study Carson's work a bit – I want to inject a bit of a story arc. I don't want it to be Author and X specifically – I want to give the speaker in the poem (even though she's me) more characterization and morph the X, the other, the heartbreaker – into a character too. He starts out like a monster – Just Violent. But later on, as the speaker grows into life on the other side of a relationship, what is he then? Does he get his name back? Or does he fade into the background? Either way, the speaker will stand on her own again. I want the story to kind of flow in a way that makes the reader care about the characters and what happens to them. It's going to take some amount of revision.

For Rhapsodomancy – divination via poetry – let's ask: “How will the above-mentioned revision ideas affect my writing process?”

“Look, look, look, he said, there it is, the moment is
changed, but at no time is change a moment. It slips in
between, a star seen best when you look to one side.” (Pardi pg. 37. Poem: God's Shins)

Ah, so it's what I am bracing myself for – the much needed push in the quite-possibly-right direction. It's going to be difficult. But I'll start revising some that I've written outside of class and report back on how I feel about the work next week.