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Today: tennis, rain, more tennis, more rain, going in to work for three hours (it's a holiday, but we were still providing reference services and I was scheduled on the desk), snow, more tennis.
Also caffeine, and good progress on a grant application.
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Ran across a note I'd written about a then-new poem, back in October 2004:
Scribbled out a poem at lunch today. In a few minutes I'll type it up and see if it's any good. Might not be, but you never know. I've been reading the Warren Wilson craft anthology, Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World, and oddly enough reading this kind of critical essay sometimes gets me writing. (Which is yet another thing that makes me think I should run off and get an MFA, but whatever.) Anyway I was reading an essay by Marianne Boruch about bee imagery in Plath's poems, and the title "Opening the Hive" struck me for a poem about open-heart surgery. The poem may have gone downhill from there, though. Heh. Anyway, that's three poems in five days -- one Saturday, one Sunday, and one today -- and that makes me happy, even if they're not great.Which makes me think a couple of things. One, I sure as heck don't always know whether a poem's any good or not until it's had a while to age; this poem ended up in a nice place, so apparently someone thought it was decent (after some revision, of course). Two, I find it interesting to go back and remember where poems came from; perhaps I'll make more of an effort to document this as I go along.
In fact, I think it would be kind of fun to make a practice of keeping "notes on inspiration" in my poetry notebook along with the rough drafts. Or perhaps even make it a separate notebook or journal. Hmmm. Revisiting the original impulse could be helpful (or not...) in revision; also, I think it's good to know what kind of things tend to spark you into writing, so you can make an effort to do those things when you need to get yourself going. I absolutely don't believe in sitting around waiting for inspiration. If caffeine and craft essays trick your particular Muse into dancing, or if it requires putting on the lucky socks, then make time for those things.
Yes, I'm narcissistically fascinated with my own creative process, and we all know what that's called. But I'm fascinated with yours, too. How can you trick your particular Muse? What do you do when you want to put yourself in that writing frame of mind? Do you pour yourself a glass of wine? Burn that "Inspiration" scented aromatherapy candle you found on clearance at Target? Put on some music? Go for a walk? Hire a hundred monkeys and sit them down at a hundred typewriters and hope like hell for Shakespeare? Tell me.