Tina Parker

When writing doesn't look at all like writing

Date of Post: 
Monday, January 25, 2016

We had just over a foot of snow in the latest round of S(now)MG. I haven't left the house (except to play in the snow) for three days, and it has been a gift. I spent a lot of time on my writing, though it didn't likely appear that way.

I wrote in my notebook about my intentions for new work--a series of fantastic poems involving hauntings. Then I set about reviewing my notes from a writing workshop on Speculative Poetry that I took last spring. I wanted some models; poets who have written in this vein. It was great fun to find several poets' names in my notes and then go online and order their books. Nothing like a little commerce on a snow day: I ordered Margaret Atwood, Andre Breton, and Rachel McKibbens.

I also took some time to gather my resources: what kind of research would I need to do for these poems? More details on the source of the Bloody Mary urban legend, some supposed first-hand accounts of Tennesee's own Bell Witch. Check and check. Web research conducted and new books ordered. I made lists in my notebook for future poem fodder. I outlined a couple of options for structuring the series. I didn't write a single poem. But I did get into my writing mind enough to have new ideas come to me when I woke in the middle of the night (and I prefer this to waking with a pop song stuck in my head!).

One more thing I did with my snow days that doesn't look a thing like writing--I did quite a bit of sitting and staring. I watched the snow fall; I watched our daughters sled; I watched a flock of robins land in our bare maple tree and fly back and forth to gather holly berries. All of this counts for something---I like to think it counts for quite a lot.