Tuesday, July 14, 2020

for the love of tiny projects

This weekend, I put the bloom project to bed.  Or perhaps planted it deep in the ground (if the metaphor is more apt.) It's still a little rough, and I plan to spend the next few weeks smoothing out some edges and see what I've got.  Again, it's hard to write about things without distance, so maybe some time is what these pieces need.  Up next in writing plans is a little fun series on Weekly World News headlines I've been batting around in my head that is making me giggle. It might be the perfect antitdote to some darker projects I've been immersed in the past few months. (well as shadowy as The Shining and virus poems tend to be.) 

According to my journal/planner, I had all sorts of creative plans for this spring and summer, but now feel like much of them fall to the wayside in the name of just getting through the dumpster fire that is 2020. But at least there are still poems, pretty much daily, first thing I work on over breakfast. I've also been devoting one weekend day to writing-related things like submissions and manuscript org, and book promo efforts (this this weekend's book trailer success.)  which feel like they can get swept away, especially now that I am back to commuting during parts of the week. My relationship with all things poetry is still rocky, and I tend to go from obsessing about writing then back to not caring at all, but it's still a case of pandemic brain that I hope will pass. It might be one of the things that I still feel I have control of--so perhaps I need it more than ever. 

As for bloom, I was aiming for around 20, but wound up with 16 or so viable pieces. Despite whatever I aim for 15-20 is about what I wind up usually, even if they are initially longer. extinction event, wound up running long (about 30 poems) simply because I needed to occupy an hour-long reading at The Field, but actually wound up about a third shorter when I dug back in earlier this year. I felt like so much was fluff and repetition, so I cut it, and I think the series is the better for it.  Sort of like the fashion dictum that says put on your accessories and then take one off. In most cases I top off about 20 when it comes to more focused series, sometimes even less. It's been a while since I was able to sustain a larger, single focus full-length project, probably since the shared properties of water and stars. girl show feels like one, but it was written over a span of time that included a lot of other writing for different projects. It might be my usual complaint that I lack a certain amount of  endurance for focusing on one thing for two long.  Or maybe just one focused thing that and I get bored with pretty quickly and long to move onto the next.  This might be why I like chapbooks so much--for my own pursuits and reading the work of others. It feels like it takes a lot of momentum and control to sustain something on a singe track over the course of 50 plus pages. 

My longer projects tend to build as smaller things constellate--and tend to be more over-arching in their themes, but broader in their subject matter.  Maybe it's just easier to write several small books than one big one, or to somehow trick myself into writing a larger mss. by composing it out of small ones.  Like building a doll house out of wood blocks rather than framing it out and constructing a whole.  

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