4.06.2007

NaPoWriMo - Six

"Death in the News"
(sketches)

Prayer

Lord by my consolation
Be not deaf to me; hear
me and remind me of Your Passion
when my death is near.

Entrance

To the casino, driving
he felt his blood pumping
in his back;
he'd win her back
or die trying.

Confession (tune: Daffodil Lament)

"I have decided
to leave you forever;
nothing you say can change
what I'm feeling.
Still, you look lovely today."

Purgation

She, the dealer
Hold 'em, the game;
He'd picked her table
so she'd be able
to see him die up close.
He pulled out the gun
and opened his mouth.
With a loud noise
he breathed his last.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Josh said...

i feel conflicted about napowrimo.

it reminds me of kundera and the ethic of the essential. on the other hand, i think about stevie king instructing anyone who is serious about writing to compose at least 1000 words a day.

nothing personal, but i think i favor kundera's perspective. my question is what is the purpose of napowrimo?

i'm not sure napowrimo is practical because it contradicts the normal writing process. has it been a valuable experience for you so far? i'd like to know your rationale behind choosing to participate.

12:11 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I think you're right. There's nothing all that valuable in posting a poem every day for no other reason than posting a poem every day. Writing a poem every day is another thing.

That said, Kundera is on the mark, but King is equally so which creates an interesting dichotomy. It is imperative that a writer churn out material with relentless fervor, continually mining for gold, knowing that the majority will be trash. Kundera wouldn't disagree with me on that count, but he certainly would be at odds with the practice of "publishing" the daily workouts, as it were.

My response, then, is that I am obviously not going to stop writing the poem per day, as per NaPoWriMo, because that would defeat my most basic goal as a writer--to write. However, I will also not stop posting the daily poem (at least not this month), because it would require that I control my blogorrhea. You may or may not have noticed that I now update three different blogs regularly, so that is also not an option.

So, King's right, and I won't stop writing. Kundera's right, too, but I’m still not going to stop blogging things that aren't necessarily the most worthy, and here's why: I’m more likely to start a particular piece and not finish it, if I know that it isn't going to end up somewhere. I know a lot of what I write won't be published in the traditional sense, and that's ok, but I would still like to finish the pieces I start as often as possible, and the prospect of their appearing on the blog is often the motivation I use. It is a foolish justification, I know, but there it is.

After I’ve published a few best-sellers, and my blogs are ancient history, I'll keep the rubbish to myself. Until then, it's something to do, and it keeps me writing. That's why NaPoWriMo is valuable.

As for the "normal writing process", I’m not even sure I know what that is; all I know is, strengthening the habit of writing regularly is never a misguided ideal. Therein lies the answer to your three questions: it's the purpose of NaPoWriMo, it's why NaPoWriMo is valuable, and it's why I participate.

Poem on.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

no, writing often is not a misguided ideal, but it is equally or perhaps more important to draft, revise and edit often.

every blogger is probably guilty of publishing first drafts, which is ok because the blog is, in many cases, a place for dialogue and criticism.

visualizing the end product and getting started on it is the fun part--the real work is figuring out what is extraneous, what is missing, or what should be changed. in this regard, my opinion, based on the pace at which i usually work, is that napowrimo, by definition, shortchanges writers by not providing adequate time for polishing--unless they go back and republish later...but how likely is that?

3:00 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Indeed, the process of going back and revising, editing, polishing, and publishing again certainly is not undertaken frequently enough. This is where personal responsibility comes in, I suppose.

My point is this: it is up to each author to take the further steps mentioned above, and some are more likely to take them than others. For me, because I often need the extra motivation to take the time to write as often as I should, NaPoWriMo is a welcome aid. I know that I am likely to revise and polish later. That is to say, the revision is not the part of the process for which I need extra goading: I will do that obsessively on my own. Personally, I am more in need of the discipline of carving out time for raw, mass creative activity, and that is where NaPoWriMo helps me most.

Others may not need such help, and for them, NaPoWriMo is overkill, and unnecessary.

Visualizing the end product is indeed a wonderful part of the writing process, but I can sadly count myself in the number of writers who enjoy that part of the process a bit too much. What I need, and what NaPoWriMo often helps me with, is stepping out on the ledge, toward the leap of writing. I am almost certain that nothing I write this month will be my best work, but it is the act of writing that I am practicing.

True, anyone can just churn out sentences and stanzas, but I find that I am too often guilty of lingering in the planning stage, not allowing enough opportunity to revise and edit. NaPoWriMo simply reminds me that I can plan all day, but I need to kick myself in the butt at times if I'm going to produce enough to revise later. The habit's the thing. As full as my days are with work and family, I need to be reminded that I am capable of taking the time to write.

I'm rambling, now, and not very convincingly (is that even a word?), so I'm off to write number seven.

9:45 PM  

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