Welcome To My Bed

Magic Morsel: Ekphrasis

At times, it's necessary to empty your head of all personal imagery and just let writing become the mechanical process.  I've heard tell of both Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson re-typing great novels by other writers to learn the movement of genius.  I've never gone so far myself (though it intrigues me to think what I might make after such an exercise).

But last night I did a little exercise.  After retyping a scene from the novel (no editing allowed in the process), I was in a very floaty, empty-headed working mode.  I tend to create best with nothing current immediately on my mind.  Then I did an ekphrastic experiment(ekphrasic writing is done as a direct response to another art object)--a song came on in shuffle, and while listening to it several times over I brainstormed images based on the musical features.  The guitar line was lonely and wandering.  The drums sounded like the slow turn of gears.  Before I was sure of what was on the page in front of me, I'd written a three stanza western.

Here's the song:


It would be interesting to see what other people would write in response to the same song, though I haven't quite thought through how that might be collected.

Anyway, I plan on doing this at least once a day.  It's an effective trap door out of always writing about myself, or at least an escape from the ever-larger manuscript of hospital/death poems.  Maybe for National Poetry Month (April), my project will end up as thirty ekphrastic poems, each a response to one of my favorite songs.

Brain food, and that other stuff that just tastes good.

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Good morning, sunshines. I got a solid ten hours of sleep last night and I am so ready to kick this day's butt! Too bad there's not much to do. While I wait for my laundry to finish drying, lemme sing another chorus of "Young and Healthy" from 42nd Street and then I'll tell you the tales of the past few weeks.

The past semester has contained more revision than any other period of my life to date. Til now, and as a writer I'm endlessly ashamed to admit this, revision was more of an afterthought than process. I see now that such an attitude was burying some of my best ideas in a whole lot of junk, and feel my words are better able to breathe now that I tend and prune them properly. It really is a lot like gardening; afterwards, my back tends to hurt and my hands can get ornery, but I always sit down to eat a helluva lot more satisfied than when I let things have their own way. And I'm going to cut that metaphor off right now before it gets away from me.

The preliminary final drafts of both my novel and my poetry manuscript are due next week. I have this. I can manage it. I am endlessly excited for the outcomes, as my projects have taken their time becoming what they are now. I have been peeling back layers for months and letting intuition do the bulk of the real work. It is both rewarding and excruciating to let your instincts write a book for you. If you only write when the mood strikes as it is, waiting for the mood to strike and your instincts to indicate where you must go next is like holding out both hands for lightning strikes. But it is getting there. I am getting there. In a month's time, I will be done with college and gearing up for tour. This all boggles my mind. I am still just a little girl playing house. Here, evidence of the playing--an experiment in soup turned genius fall meal. I literally just put things into pans and hoped for the best. Magically, that worked out with such success I had to record it. Jericha usually does the cooking at home, but I bested my roomie at her own game this time. She asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd write it down here for everybody. (And it's vegetarian.)

Accidental Onion Soup

5 medium-sized onions, chopped
1 bottle Opa Opa Light Lager
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
salt & pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and remaining butter in layers. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Allow to cook, unstirred for 25 minutes. Do not worry about burning (it won't happen). After 25 minutes, stir occasionally, continuing to cook onions until they are a deep mahogany, 15-20 minutes. Once a rich brown color is achieved, mix onions, beer, and water in a large stock pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and parmesan cheese on a brisk night when you want hearty comfort food.

Or, you could always stop by Nakedhaus and I'll cook you dinner while reciting for my latest project. No kidding. It happens at least three times a week now.