Seven months and counting.
When my friend Catherine encouraged me to collect some of my poems and make something called a chapbook, I initially resisted. Most of my effort over the last few years has been on devising Performance pieces, largely around Adult ADD/ADHD. Before that, my main focus was music and all of my writing was songwriting. But every so often, I’d return to one of my first loves: short fiction and poetry.
For most of 2013 and some of 2014, Catherine and I ran a “daily prompt poetry blog” for a small group of writers in and around Ann Arbor. It was called Ann Arbor Poets Online. That was a lot of fun and gave me the structure I need to produce work consistently. It was a great experience and I expect we’ll keep resurrecting it from time to time.
So, back in June, I contracted with a publisher and started going through my backlog of work.
There were a few obvious clusters: high school and early college, my writing after Amy’s death, coming to terms with my ADD, Robert Lee Browner’s Poem-a-Day prompt series, and, of course, our poetry blog. In between, there were a lot of one-offs, pieces inspired by some event that happened or some realization I’d come to. I went through over 400 poems and winnowed them down to about 80. Then, I asked some friends I trusted to help me validate my choices and rework some of the pieces I liked but weren’t quite there.
I am now in my third and, I hope, final pass through the poems. Putting them in order. Dealing with punctuation decisions. Choosing which photos or drawings I want to include. Wrestling (over and over) with whether or not to include the 1 page story fragments.
I’ve given myself a deadline of Feb 28. One year since I left my full-time job to focus on creating things.
Let’s see how it goes.