Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fire and Stars

The weeks keep flying by. I have been very busy at my day job, and my day and night gig as a parent, but have managed to keep moving forward with writing as well - always in tiny steps, tiny moments, tiny observations. I write for a half hour each way on the train every day, and usually an hour or two at night after my kids go to bed.

This week I submitted a poem I wasn't sure was finished to the Burnaby Writer's Society for their annual contest. I've sent the poem to my writer/reader mail list and have had more feedback than usual on it. Maybe it felt unfinished because I let it go without morphing it into something...expected? typical? familiar? It felt like a risk to set it free before it felt entirely done...but maybe it *is* done and I didn't overwork it because the deadline forced me to let it go. Another benefit of being squeezed by time, all the time.

While recently I've been focusing on paid writing gigs, this week demands on my time have prompted me toward the escapism of poetry writing. I am currently lounging in my pink Start a band shirt and green snowflake jammies, ready to work on the chapbook with a deadline of mid-August. Working on it tonight feels like a break; it means using a different part of the brain that will not be forced into corners. It's much more of a side step kind of dance. Surprising movements and moments. Surrender.

This morning I re-read the ten poems I have ready for the chapbook on the train, after setting it aside for a few weeks. I like them. Some of them are strong. They all stand alone, are very different, but are tied together by the theme. I have hope that in the end, when I have my twenty-to-twenty-three-ish poems ready to submit, they will come together into a package that amounts to more than the sum of their parts. I also hope they fill a niche that hasn't been filled, and never can be. The book is called I Can Make Life - a line swiped from an Ani Difranco song in which this phrase is not at all sung with irony. It asks to be read that way in my collection, though, which is about my personal struggle with a variety of reproductive crises over the course of several years.

This week I will be sending my mail list readers a new poem called Other Worlds, which was inspired by (and is basically a found poem lifted from) a book of that name by Paul Davies. The subject of the book is quantum theory. The subject of my poem is a string of biochemical pregnancies. I've always thought of the little ones, so near, so far, as "Star Babies", and was pleased with and surprised by how some of the phrases from Davies' book hit me in the gut...metaphysical, with a sense of longing and care one may not normally associate with scientific books. However, both the subject of my poem and this book deal with searching, striving for understanding, for reality - what is the real world? Certainly Mr. Davies didn't anticipate a woman many years later finding a poem in his words. Unless, of course, he found his way through space-time to June 2011.

If you'd like to read the poem, and any others that come along, please send me a message with your email address and I'll happily add you to the list.

If you're already with me, and you'd like to be on an informal committee to review my chapbook before the submission deadline in August, I'd be honoured to hear from you as well. I'm looking for three to five readers who would like to comment on the book overall, and provide more feedback on a handful of poems.


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