Wednesday, March 15, 2023

serial offenders

I was thinking recently about my love of series both in writing and art, and this has always pretty much been the case, barring a couple years in the beginning of writing seriously with an aim at making a "career" of it. There are the type of poets who can write a single perfect poem about something and just be done with it and move on. They said what they said and are onto something else. I am much more obsessive. I have to approach things from a few different sides at a few different times. Kick the tires, stand back. Form arguments and contradictions, tell my own lies and call myself out on them. Try going another way entirely only to get back to where I started. Obsess for a couple weeks or months or sometimes, years, particularly if there are words involved.  Not just within a single project, but hell, even years later, circling back around to things, dredging up obsessions and passions. (This may be why there are the broken carcasses of mermaids and mothers everywhere you look.)

It's especially true with art, which usually involves choosing a subject matter, however loosely, and then building a visual scheme around it. Sometimes there are false starts, and pieces that don't pull their weight and get cast aside.  Poems are probably similar, a subject matter (though not always clear at the beginning), loosely centered and then the pieces spinning haphazardly around it.  A few poems in and I start to iron out a form and a scope--things like the shape of the stanzas, which can change as I go. Some poems start out as prose and wind up in lines.  Some, longer lines, then cut shorter (this was true with granata.) Once I have that more difficult dozen or so, I begin to see the shape of what I am trying to make. The getting there is sometimes the hardest and most perilous part.

Once I get there, the project builds momentum and becomes much easier to form. It actually becomes more difficult to not write it. It continues as long as I feel I have more to say and as long as my interest holds, and usually comes swiftly if I am keeping up with my daily writing practice well. For other things, I've been writing about slasher movies and thinking about franchises, how each new incarnation is a new approach, better or worse. A chance to approach something at a new angle. To fuck it up or make it better. It's also why I love anthology series so much, things strung together subtly and moving toward a greater idea or point.

Often the length varies. hotter, for example, I knew would be short, not only because it was intended to be just a little palate cleanser after writing about mythology all last summer, but also because it was interrupted by several months not writing in the fall and winter after my dad's death. I decided to release it on V-Day, so of course decided 14 seemed like a good number to finish it out. granata, just under 40 pages, on the other hand, hovers still possibly unfinished, possibly finished, we'll see when I go back in for more in-depth edits and start sending more of it out possibly. This fledgling thing I am at work on now, the as yet untitled thing I've focused on since February for the past two months, still remains around 20, though I feel like there is more there I'd like to round out over the next few weeks before I turn my attention to something new for NAPWRIMO (just what I'm not sure.) If it's not finished then, I'll probably return to it in may or sneak out some April daily poems in its confines.

Today I was playing around with collage stuff idly waiting for a pitch to be approved by an editor, and randomly made the above bit of weirdness. I am pretty sure she's not a sea monster like the others I've been working on recently, but she may be something entirely new. 

A beginning...