6.20.2007

Writing: Reaching a Goal and Creating a Writing Space

As I look out on Payette Lake this evening I slowed down to reflect on a very productive writing day. I reached another writing goal. I have blogged each day since I started February 11th. This makes Blog #175. Doing this ritual each day has enriched my own writing experience. I practice the craft, get feedback, and stay in a routine of making time to do it.Today I set up my own writing space with the essentials. A view of the lake and pine trees, a favorite mug and trail mix, a laptop, and music playing in the background. I revised memoir pieces early in the day. I then went to a workshop on the topic of "What We Read and How That Reflects on What We Write". Lori had us list books that have made a difference in our lives in the last year, then share them with the group. Next we listed the types of writing we do. She helped us see that there are themes between what we choose to read that may help enhance our writing. Some of us read about certain types of characters. Others focus on a time period. Often I immerse myself in a certain genre. The workshop gave us much to reflect on during our lunch on the outdoor porch. We also left the workshop with a whole new list of books for backyard reading.
When I introduced myself last night with a piece of writing I chose a copy change using "Women Who Love Angels" by Judith Ortiz Cofer. With copy change the writer imitates another poem either with structure or word choice. I have also posted this on Thursday Poetry here.
Woman Who Loves Gardening

I have dirty nails
and rarely paint them, living out
my long growing season in the flower garden, trellises
giving view to clematis, climbing Peace
where aromatic flowers
grow in profusion.
I pull the weeds
in the early morning
gritting my teeth
wiping sweat from my brow
and listening
to footsteps of my husband
coming in range to help.
Sun makes my face red;
each sniff with my nose
leaves lily pollen behind.
When I rest it’s the beauty
that causes anxiety to shake loose
from a woman in need
of a quiet place to retreat.
-with thanks to Judith Ortiz Cofer
Here is the original poem:
Women Who Love Angels
by Judith Ortiz Cofer
They are thin
and rarely marry, living out
their long lives in spacious rooms, French doors
giving view to formal gardens
where aromatic flowers
grow in profusion.
They play their pianos
in the late afternoon
tilting their heads
at a gracious angle
as if listening
to notes pitched above
the human range.
Age makes them translucent;
each palpitation of their hearts
visible at temple or neck.
When they die, it's in their sleep,
Their spirits shaking gently loose
from a hostess too well bred
to protest.
Our group is ready to wind up another day of reading, writing, discussion, and retreating. This picture captures the moon last night after twilight.

9 comments :

  1. I love doing that writing excercise, it is just the right level of effort to get you warmed up:)

    I'm so glad you are having a good time at your retreat, I wish I was there too.

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  2. Sian: I agree. It also has worked well with my students when the hit a " writer's block".

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  3. These are both splendid poems, and you did a marvelous reflecting the voice and rhythm of the original, but putting your own unique stamp on it. I love the idea of a copy change - that's a new concept for me.

    I've just been catching up with your retreat posts and photos. How lucky you are! Thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us :)

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  4. I think it's amazing that you write every day like this. You are such an inspiration to me! I used to write volumes, but have fallen out of the daily habit. I am trying to get back into it. You've given me a lot of good ideas! Thanks for sharing your retreat like this...

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  5. Becca: Thanks for the constructive feedback.
    Rondi: I am surprised at myself. It was a new commitment for sure.

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  6. Really enjoyed your post! Wow, what a wonderful place for a writing retreat!

    Are you in the Ponderosa State Park area?

    Has anyone spotted Sharlie? ;)

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  7. Thanks for sharing this writing exercise, I enjoyed both poems very much. It's nice to have a sort of template to work from sometimes!

    I also really liked your comments about reading and the impact it has on your writing. I think there are too many would be writers who don't read enough.

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  8. Your copy change is lovely! And your pictures, beautiful, as usual. You are a very talented and gifted woman. And, evidently, a very ORGANIZED one! :-) I can't imagine writing on my blog every day!

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  9. Rob: We are about a ten minute walk from the State Park. Who is Sharlie? Somebody spotted a deer and that was about it.
    cgpoet: When I need a jump start copy change works great. This was the first time I had used this particular poem.
    jackie: thanks for your kind words. Perhaps semi-organized.For each post written something else like weeding or windows may not be getting done. :)

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