Thursday, April 14, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 14: The Dreaded Ending

So here’s what I’ve discovered, two weeks into NaPoWriMo: It’s not hard to write a poem every day. The hard part is finishing one every day.

I have no particular routine about this poem-a-day thing. Sometimes I’m up at 3 a.m., writing that day’s poem already; sometimes I start it at breakfast or lunch. Occasionally I don’t get underway until the evening, when I panic and make myself turn off Top Gear and for God’s sake write something because I have to post it by midnight and I’ve been a lazy slug and time is running out.

But no matter when I start the poem, the rest of it goes more or less the same: After a fair amount of staring into space and thinking that I’ll never come up with an idea, a few words find their way onto the page. And then the writing snowballs and seems to take on a life of its own. For a while, things are going pretty well—lines are coming and life is good and the radio station of the cosmos is transmitting loud and clear.

And then I start feeling like it’s time to end the poem, and the whole thing screeches to a halt. My Great Thought has petered out like a semi that can’t quite make it to the summit. I get out and pop the hood and stand there and stare at it. This goes on for a long, long time—often twice as long as it took to write the rest of the poem. I tinker with it and back it down the hill a ways—cut some lines to see if I can get a running start from someplace else. Sometimes I take parts out and rearrange them. Sometimes I have to unscrew entire stanzas and chuck them to the side of the road. Eventually I manage to get the engine going and drive it over the crest, but I’m not always happy with the ride.

Regardless, it’s done—for now—and off it goes to the Yahoo group, to the showroom where it pulls in alongside the poems of my friends and peers. Whether I ever drive it again remains to be seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment