Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Manuscript Musings

I have to say, I've been enjoying my summer vacation so far. 

I know, I know, I'm only about a week in, but so far, so good! I've been writing everyday. Every. single. day. I get up, make coffee, write. And everyday that writing has been fruitful. What an amazing feeling! Most of what I've been doing is sifting through and cleaning up my Napowrimo poems from last month, but also generating some new material along the way. For the past two days, I've been working on a new mini series of poems about Lobo Girl, the feral child legend of southwest Texas. I think her narrative will fit nicely into my Slue Foot Sue narrative, braided together so to speak. They're both feminist reimaginings of masculinized folklore, that celebrate "wild" women who defy the rules. 

Speaking of my book... this week I've also taken a critical look at it, reorganized it, and trimmed it back a bit. I like its new shape. I decided to take out the "body" themed poems from the mss. and save them for the next book entirely. That way, when I finish "Lost Chronicles" I'll already have a little head start on my next book, "Love Poems to Desdemona". So, I've rationalized this move to myself, and I'm fairly satisfied with the results. This sets me back a bit on the "Chronicles" project, but I still expect to be done by the end of the summer, and, well, I think it will make for a more cohesive, stronger narrative arc to both books.

So the state of the manuscript? Pretty darn good.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Summer Starts... Today!

Oh summer vacation, you couldn't come soon enough :)

Today was my first "official" day of summer vacation. Yesterday, I spent the entire day (literally) finishing up grades and posting them. I went to bed so exhausted, so spent and grouchy that when I awoke this morning, I didn't quite realize what that all meant -- that I'm now totally obligation free for the next month.

Whaat?

It really hasn't sunk in. Maybe on Monday morning I'll wake up and feel free...

So what do I have going on this summer?

A few things.

Actually, tomorrow I'm really excited to visit my old high school and serve as their "keynote" poet for their poetry night. It's kinda special to me, actually, because, like so many youngsters, I did my very first poetry reading at this same poetry night in 2003... that's... too many years ago to count. Lately, I've actually begun really ENJOYING school visits. In the past, I really hadn't and only did them because it's something I should do, but now, they're growing on me. I see them as purposeful, and perhaps the most significant thing is that I always leave inspired by the kiddos. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

I'm also teaching Summer I session. I'm teaching two reduced seat time 1302 rhetoric courses. This will keep me busy for the month of June and shouldn't be too terribly painful.

And then, I'll be doing a reading in Austin in July. Woohoo! I don't have a specific date yet, but hopefully soon.

Of course, with every scrap of time in between, I'll be writing. My main goal for the summer is, by the end of August, to have a draft of my next manuscript in Publisher's hands. I've got about 90 poems in good shape right now (not great shape, but good shape) but the main problem with them is that it feels like there's two manuscripts in them. I've got Body poems (tentatively titled Self Portrait as a Ghost Town) and Relationship poems (tentatively titled The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue). Bleh. The good thing is that I've seemed to recently have hit a vein, so to speak, in my writing, so I've been generating new material -- on both subjects -_- Wouldn't it be awesome to have BOTH manuscripts done by the end of the summer? Uh... keep dreamin' Katie. I keep telling myself, pick one and run with it, girl! But then I get a new idea for a poem and away I go. I have a few months to figure this mess out.

I think what's REALLY keeping me from feeling all summery and free is this health b.s that's dangling over my head. Thanks to my epic grading marathon yesterday, I spent wayyyy too much time in a chair and hurt my back. So that's depressing. And then, even heavier on my mind, is my weird brain issue. My wonderful neurologist is on vacation, leaving me in suspense about the results of my recent scans. She returns in two weeks. So for two weeks, here I am, biting my nails, pulling out my hair, and just in general obsessing about this whole mortality thing. Which, believe it or not, is a pretty good obsession for a writer to have.

So, goals for summer 2016:
1. Don't die.
2. Finish poetry manuscript -- either split it up or make it work. Either way, send to Publisher by end of August!
3. Write two book reviews
4. Submit to residencies
5. Submit poetry packets out at least once per week -- so, let's say a goal of 15 by the end of summer. I did two yesterday, so I'm off to a good start!
6. Do at least one public reading a month. I've got May and July squared away, so figure something out for June and August
7. Successfully teach summer course while keeping my writing schedule going
8. Practice Spanish
9. Exercise five times per week, keep it a priority
10. Enjoy and savor the extra rime. Bake cakes. Play video games. Snuggle the cats. Take a long, frivolous roadtrip with B. Enjoy and life life to the fullest everyday.

On number 10, to be completely honest, I actually find great joy in being productive, in writing, in teaching, and in doing what I do. But, I need chill time too. I'll work on that this summer B-)