Sunday, May 06, 2007

The past few days

...just blew by. Or was it a plastic bag? I could spend the rest of my life in the trees, removing plastic shopping bags. And maybe I should. Anyhow, here's a partial list of what I've been occupied and preoccupied with over the past few days. I might add to the list as the day goes on.

  • I dealt with the pile of email that had accumulated while I was away.

  • I fought with occasional verse. I wrote a sonnet. Actually, it was more of a battle. I struggled with it into the early hours. I struggled with it in my sleep, slept poorly because of it, and continued the struggle early the next morning. However, the sonnet, and my trouble with it, led to a very helpful chat on occasional verse. During that chat, we talked briefly about "On Poems and Occasions," a section on occasional verse in The New Quarterly, issue 100. I mentioned that there was a sentence in the section that had left me feeling incapable of pulling off a decent occasional poem, but I couldn't locate the issue at the time of the chat. Eventually I found it. I thought the sentence was in Amanda Jernigan's essay, but it's from "Grace Notes: Notes and Poems by Peter Sanger," which rounds out the section. It's Sanger's first note: "The defining crux of a poet: whether he or she can write a poem of occasion with conviction and inspiration."

  • I read a consideration of truth and science.

  • I accepted a kind invitation to Facebook. I dipped my toes in for a day, enjoyed its easiness, bathed in all the faces, then pulled the plug.

  • I watched Ottawa win!

  • I worked on a slow growing sequence of poems.

  • I learned that Dawkins will be on The Hour tomorrow night.

  • I read a couple of lengthy, excellent essays in the two issues of Canadian Notes & Queries that showed up while I was away. "Somewhere Below Memory: The Poetry of Don Coles" by David O'Meara (CNQ 70) and "Jabbed With Plenty: Peter Van Toorn and the Canadian Condition" by Zachariah Wells (CNQ 69). The latter was especially engaging as I have Van Toorn's Mountain Tea, a great book, and I've read a number of the sources for the article. Thus I was able to nod, raise my eyebrows and shake my head as I read along.

  • I found a great new song for my cardio workout. Perfect song for a writer.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda,
Sounds like a fine day to me. Especially like how much time you devoted to writing. I always appreciate suggestions of what to read or consider and so enjoyed your bit about occasional poems.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Thanks, Carla! I should mention that The New Quarterly is easily my favourite literary magazine. For the most part, the essays and profiles are outstanding. The time and care that go into each issue is more than obvious.

I'd also like to say how lucky I am to have great editors at my fingertips. I failed to mention that the writer who I chatted with knows the form well and generously took the time to look at my sonnet. Thank goodness!

Kelly said...

If you want to drive yourself mad (and who doesn't), try writing a sonnet using 20 random words picked from a dictionary.

That's something I've been working on for the last month, and, yep, I'm almost crazy because of it.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Oh my! I once wrote a sonnet using 10 random words and that was hard enough. Good luck! You'll need it. :)