I’ve had time to think about the Poetry Marathon and what I came away with from it, besides 100 poems of varying quality. I’m not sure why the idea of writing an army of poems appealed to me. Once I thought of doing it, though, I could not get it out of my mind. That’s the mark of something you really want to do, when the idea won’t be squelched by the mass of daily routine thoughts and it keeps asserting itself.
OK, so now that I did actually do it, write poetry for 5 days in a row, three hours a day (I know I said two, but it ended up being more like three), what do I think?
In no particular order:
1. I felt as if I had taken a trip out of town. It was refreshing. Leaving home, going to another location (even if it was a mile away) and working there –it was a change of scene, routine, and pattern of thinking.
2. I felt a big sense of accomplishment. I set myself a goal and I met it. Not in the number or quality of what I wrote but that I actually did write and do it in the manner I planned. I also felt good that I had chosen a way to go about it that was attainable and did not discourage me while remaining a challenge.
3. It was very interesting to me how my mind cast about for topics and what I actually came up with. Looking over what I did I was reminded that, at the bottom of it, what I’m interested in is everyday life in suburbia – it’s my lifelong home and it’s what I know and care about.
4. The process reminded me who I write for – me. I didn’t try to force ideas or have “big” thoughts or themes or worry about what a reader might think. I didn’t have time to second-guess myself.
5. I enjoyed the focus and attention on my work. The time just flew. No moments of thinking about going home or what other thing I could be doing. It was strangely relaxing.
6. There is only so long that I can sit and think and write. Then I get tired and need to stop. It’s important to realize when this point is passed as things can really go downhill fast if I don’t.
7. A comfortable place to work makes a big difference. Taking along something to eat or drink is also a plus. It takes a lot of energy to write.
And some conclusions:
1. I will do this poetry marathon again. I think it would be good to try it once every three months. I noticed how much my thoughts and ideas are influenced by the season – winter was the background for a lot of what I wrote, just as it influences my daily activities. A different season would bring about a different outlook.
2. Three days is enough, if four or five days in a row aren’t available. But it seems important to work all the days consecutively rather than splitting them up.
3. Jotting down brief notes or phrases beforehand would be helpful – things occurred to me when not at the Marathon and I thought – that could be interesting – and then of course when the time came I could not remember…but not planning ahead so much that when I get to writing I have lost the freshness I was looking for.
4. Afternoon is a better time than morning. It took some time to get my thinking started up and the afternoon had the advantage of the previous hours of getting things up to speed.
From here, I plan to look over the poems and divide them up into:
Good as it is
Needs help but has potential
Dice into parts, save what’s good, and throw out the scraps
I will start on this process tomorrow. And soon I will start to post poems from the Marathon.
I would recommend trying out a Poetry Marathon to anyone. Let yourself go. It was great to have the time set aside for nothing but being a person writing poetry.