Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Sailing from Byzantium: Process Notes

Once I had writing habits, some that worked better than others.  This past year has given me one disruption after another:  job loss which might have opened up extra time, had I not broken my wrist, coupled with a huge move mid-summer and a smaller move at the end of the summer and a heavier class load than in the past.

Next term, I will try to set up some writing habits that will result in more writing time.  What will that look like?  I don't know yet.  Let me think about it before 2023 gets away from me.  For now, I'm trying to keep my poetry legal pad close to me, and to go ahead and start writing, even if I only have a glimmer of an idea.

Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast about the end of Byzantium.  I thought about the Yeats poem, and as I read it, a line came to me:  This is no country for young women.  I decided to write it down and to keep going.  I decided to have something inspired from the Yeats poem in each stanza.

In stanza 2, I began "Paltry things, tattered coats, and favorite sweaters."  Yeats started his stanza this way:    An aged man is but a paltry thing, / A tattered coat upon a stick, unless."  The third stanza references music and what the heart knows, in both Yeats' poem and mine.  The last stanza of Yeats references the gold and glitter of Byzantium; my stanza references both jewelry and canning.  Both poems end with this line:  "what is past, or passing, or to come."

I'm recording this process because it inspired me in ways I didn't expect, and it seems like something that could be used in a variety of settings.  

I will continue to work with the poem--one of my habits that has developed in the past few years is that I write a draft and don't return.  I'd like to actually finish a poem, type it into the computer, and send it off to see if anyone would like to publish it.  But more than publication, I want to have the joy of having crafted a rough draft into a more finished draft.  These days, I often end a writing session without a complete rough draft.  I write a few lines or stanzas and drift away, thinking I'll return when I'm more inspired, and I don't return, not yet.

Here's hoping that 2023 will give me more opportunities to return to drafts--and to write them in the first place.  And hope is not a strategy, so let me start making some plans.

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