REFLECTIONS ON MY SECOND 100 DAY PROJECT
My second 100 day project has come and gone … with mixed results.
My goal of completing two poems a week was generally a success, and for the most part, I’m happy with the results.
I was able to use quite a bit of material that I generated from my first 100 day project to this end. I feel I have shaped a process of sorts that first involves a kind of quiet meditation where, with broad brush strokes, certain ideas and words are received and conceived. I learned, while not necessarily recognizing it at the time, that a lot of the material I wrote was thematically similar, even though that wasn’t my intention. As a result, I was able to use multiple verses and ideas and tie them together in single poems. Often, this process of piecing together verses generated both new words and new ideas. Thus, I feel more confident that my future effort to create material will yield fruit for new poems. And that’s what I intend to do in my next project.
However, my goal of writing 125 words a day for four days a week on my novel started strong but fizzled about half-way through. I discovered that the mindset is a bit different for novel writing. It doesn’t come to me quite as easily for whatever reason (my soul belongs in poetry).
YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 – 1926
From Ahead of All Parting: Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
One hurdle I haven’t quite jumped is how to gain the mindset for poetry during the work week. It comes to me readily enough on the weekends because I can put myself in situations which I know from experience will take me to that sacred space.
So, one of my goals for this project is to write more poetry (and prose, even) during the week. To that end, I will start going to the IMA on Thursday evenings, since the café is open until 9 pm. I find that being close to the visual arts helps my frame of mind.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good places for writing here in Indy that are open late. So, I’m on the lookout for venues.
One place that caught my eye is called Thirsty Scholar. Supposedly, it’s open until 1 am. Unfortunately, they serve liquor, which isn’t ideal for me, since I don’t drink, and quite frankly, don’t really enjoy being around people that are drinking. But it’s worth checking out.
In short, I will find a way. I must change my life.
Without further ado, I’m pleased to present …
MY NEXT 100 DAY PROJECT
My goal for the last project for my novel was 125 words four days a week (that’s 500 words a week for those of you, who, like myself, aren’t exactly exemplary in math).
This go-around I’m going to change it up a bit and go for a daily count of 75 words. Quite modest. And if I miss a day …, well, no regrets. If I miss two consecutive days … well, then we have a problem.
I won’t publish that content on my blog … just updates on my progress.
Concerning poetry, my goal is to generate more first-draft material. To that end, I’ll be seeking inspiration both from written material and the visual arts. I’ll be posting both my first-draft material and the material from which I was inspired. The goal is one first draft stanza a day. For the poetry, I mustn’t miss any days. Make-up work is allowed, of course!
I’ll continue to work on full-length poems, but I feel I have enough material, and a process, that I don’t necessarily have to push myself in this sort of structured way to do that work. The coming months will test the veracity of this claim.
That’s about it, really!
Saturday, January 6th, 2018 kicks off my next 100 day project! Wish me luck!
The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.