jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

By the Sea

First, the writing. Then the pre-amble. Backwards, I know, but it's how I want to do it!

The prompt: "By the sea, beneath the yellow and sagging moon." (after Walt Whitman)

Take 1:

The night I stepped outside and saw a yellow and sagging moon,
I knew the end was near. If the moon, harbinger of love and sex and howling
is sagging, what good can come of it? A sagging moon is a sad moon,
an unhappy clown moon, a weak, tired, jaded moon, less yellow than beige,
more paste, than gold.

Take 2:

By the sea, beneath the yellow and sagging moon,
I hung my wash, picked up handfuls of towels and t-shirts
wrung clean of your scent and flung them out to dry.
By morning, they had taken on the golden hue of moonshine,
sprouted arms pink as starfish and flown off to rest
in an eagle’s nest on an island just past clear view by binocular.
Over the waves I thought I heard you say, Hand me a t-shirt would you. I’m cold.

Take 3:

By the sea, beneath the yellow and sagging moon,
she flung her heavy body into the sand.
Dove headfirst into a soggy, pebbly dune,
reached arm over head, arm over head, in a crawl
that brought her nowhere. Had she but time and foresight
she would have filled her pockets with rocks,
strode ten steps further to the sea.
Not by the sea, like the old song sings,
by the sea, by the sea, but ten steps further to the sea.
Walk in, not out. Walk in, one step, two steps,
rocks dragging her down down down.
Then she would not be crawling, but stroking
beneath the sea, by the light of the sagging moon,
the wings of a golden angel fish newly drowned.

NOW, the pre-amble, or after-amble, as it were, wherein I blather on about my process...

OK. This is going to be harder than it looks. Uh, harder than it feels? OK. This is going to be hard. You see, I just wanted to sit down and read Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women’s Lives, by Rosemary Daniel. I mean, with an introduction like this, can you blame me? “Our name came from a quarter in Mexico City..But if you think for a minute, you realize that it indicates more, that the rosa has been a part of us from our beginnings. And if you look inside yourself, at your inner lips or even more intimate parts—as many women did during the ‘70s—you see that all women are created pink, with a special relationship to that color.”

So, I would really like to read on, but, I have made a commitment to my lonely blog, to my muse, to my children…No, no, that’s the promise to feed and clothe us.

Anyway, as I have made my commitment, it only goes to follow that tonight my husband would download all of our favorite sitcoms to watch on the DVD player in our bedroom that he so kindly gave me as a Christmas present. (Who needs silver bangles or poetry books?) Yes. All the sitcoms we missed while he was away for work last week, sleeping in a KING SIZE bed in a room with a kitchen and a KING SIZE television, and no children, and I was at my parents’ house in the Adirondacks with my children in the home I grew up in, going to bed at 8pm every night and getting up at 5am every morning, removing tiny feet and elbows from my back and ribs.

Oh, I digress, and, anyway, it wasn’t all bad. I got to hang out with my mom. Too bad we would’ve had to hop the train to Montreal in the dead of night and leave the children with my father watching John Wayne to have a conversation that didn’t get interrupted with, “Nana, I need…” or “Mommy, when can I play X-box again?”

So. With a good book calling to me, and Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother beckoning from the blue screen, it was hard to get into the writerly mode. But I did it. And, actually, now that it’s done, I really like the last bit that I came up with.

The prompt is not one I would choose if I had my druthers (and just what are druthers?), but in the end, after three tries, I kind of like the direction it took. Whitman is a classic, and I tend to prefer contemporary poets. I studied all the classics, the masters, in undergrad and grad school, so I have my “classical training,” but give me Billy Collins or Margaret Atwood any day. Not to mention Mary Oliver, Sandra Cisneros, Naomi Shihab Nye.

Well. That's it. Hubby awaits with chips and sitcoms. Thanks for reading!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're on a roll! if you count each of these as a piece PLUS the two you wrote this afternoon in writing group, that's five attempts today! wow! and in all of them much to preserve and protect and send out into the world.

the second one of these was my favorite.

and now that you've used the whitman line as an intro, it did its job. can you rework one or two of them without his first line? that may be the place to go next.

of course with your hectic pace, there may be no room for revision! :) i say go with it, go with it, go with it. get them all down and save the revising for a rainy day when the yellow and sagging moon is hidden by thick clouds.

10:38 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Oh this is why I am doing this! For your delicious comments and advice and because you can not live at my house and not I at yours. It is so great to write, throw it out there and have some feedback. I mean, my husband tries, but, like, when I told him about the become an animal you don't know anything about, he chose a sloth. Clever, I'll gie him that, but we are worlds apart creatively! Actually, he had an interesting take on the prompt. Should have taken dictation.

So, I will try to revise, work more. I am very bad at that, so it is my next goal as a writer, to reflect and revise.

9:27 AM  
Blogger G said...

Love your last version, but the second is great, too. I so admire your ambition here. I think Carolee's suggestion is brilliant, to rework without Whitman's line.

And I love Scrubs, too. :)Never get to watch it. I really want TiVo.

11:37 AM  

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