Friday, April 8, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 8: Not So Warm to Your Form

Okay, that’s the last time I’ll attempt to write a sonnet on a workday during NaPoWriMo.

Sonnets just take too damned long. I usually have to hack my way through one over the course of several days. And this one yesterday couldn’t decide if it was funny or poignant or what, and then the last four lines wouldn’t come and wouldn’t come. I had to pick it up and set it down over and over during the day—in between tasks at work, while balancing a sandwich on my lap at lunch—and finally finished it late at night, as the pumpkin hour approached and I was too sleepy to wrestle anymore. 

Still, I love writing sonnets. In the past few years, I’ve been trying take the stereotype of the sonnet (that it is stately, elegant, and usually about one of the Big Three—death, love, or nature) and give it a good smack in the head. Though I have plenty of sonnets from my youth about butterflies and music, lately they’ve veered toward subjects like plumbing and barflies. This one yesterday was about cat litter. It was not a success, except maybe as the dreaded Light Verse. But the wonderful thing about NaPoWriMo is that it doesn’t matter how good it is—you just finish it, and you move on.

I had thought that I might try to do several of the major forms this month—pantoum, sestina, villanelle, etc. But after yesterday I’m rethinking that. A villanelle! Those things take forf***ingever! And I have yet to write a good one.

But then again, didn’t I just say that good doesn’t count? And, to quote The Great One (not Whitman, but Gretzky), “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

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