Tuesday, December 9, 2008

poetry shmoetry

My sister Ruth emailed me a poem about colors and how cool they are and all the places you can find colors: schools, pools, mittens, kittens. And I wanted to write a poem back. I found small chunks of time this weekend to start generating ideas but didn't manage much of anything. Made me miss the days when I'd park myself and my lug of a backpack in a dark booth at the Basement Brewhaus on campus and write for three hours, thinking secret thoughts like: I'm brilliant. No more, no more. Later, I'd drive to the Dells and sit in Starbucks nursing a hot chai or peppermint mocha through a couple of hours of fiction starts or poetry attempts.

Last night Justin took Claire out for a driveway walk and I grabbed my notebook and started writing. They came in a few minutes later. I looked up. "We can go back out," Justin said. Claire squeaked. I thought about how someday I'll have all the time in the world to write because my daughter will be grown up and she'll have gone off and done something crazy, like move to Colombia.

So right now I'm learning to take the little bits of time I get to write and enjoy them, even if I end up with more shmoetry than poetry.

So this is what I'm working on: a conspiracy theory sestina. I'll probably scrap the whole thing as ridiculous when I can't get the words to do what I need them to do but until then, I'll have my fun. For one thing, sestinas, like other poetry forms, can be a good challenge. Playing with words on paper. If the sestina seems a little complicated, try a pantoum - relatively simple, nonthreatening form that loops repeated lines. Have fun with it.

If I'm going to write a conspiracy theory sestina, I need six well-founded, thoroughly researched, non-kooky theories, one for each stanza. I googled "conspiracy theories" and found more than six, none of them that well-founded or thoroughly researched and most of them kooky. My favorites: the moon landing was staged, the Royal Family are actually shape-shifting reptiles, Microsoft wingdings contain hidden messages, Paul McCartney is actually dead, and the Freemasons are running the world. Room for one more. Barcodes controlling us? 9/11 orchestrated by the U.S. government? The ever popular Kennedy assassination?

Oh, I just might become a very fun person to live with. Lucky Justin.

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