Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive. I will share my reflections along the way.
I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.
Poem: Power Lines Ada Limon The Paris Review 2021 Summer issue
Story: Rabbit Boy from Meg Pokrass’ collection Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
Essay:The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg – Some Determination
One of my favorite poets is Ada Limon. She has a poem about carrots I have talked about before. The new issue of the Paris Review came yesterday and I dug right into it.
Lines I enjoyed from the poem are:
“Where wisdom once was”
“Thought power was something you could control”
Rabbit Boy is about Alice catching the scent of the White Rabbit years later with the house as an anchor in the story. It is only four paragraphs but there is loss that is a clear theme in this story. I will reread it several times today.
The Not a Novel essay was about an experiment that the author conducted about going back to high school in a quiet 21 Jump Street style. This line resonated, “In a single moment I’ve gotten ten years younger and I sit where the teacher tells me to sit.”
Another: In my free time, I work on my story about the woman who doesn’t want to grow up.
I like the Peter Pan reference.
The NG essay is about a bowl of questions that Natalie sets out for students since her retreats are in silence. How do you stay connected is a piece of this chapter. I think this speaks to me as to how I stay connected to myself and to others. [Now I am thinking about what questions Peter Pan and Alice would put in the bowl! Can you imagine them at a silent retreat?????]
In a coaching call I was a part of yesterday the idea of how we were showing up in our writing came up. The idea stemmed from the feeling that the writing that was being produced did NOT seem like who the writer thought she was. This came up for me this week in the context of risk. I wonder if I take enough risks in my writing and truly show myself. There is a truth in all writing whether it is nonfiction or fiction. The truth is always the best story but what lens it is through is the tricky part.
Bowls come up in my stories a lot. Nina LaCour has yellow bowls that are a metaphor in her novel We Are Okay and she gets comments about them all the time. Sometimes the small anchors are what guide us through a story.
These readings today are making me think of strange angles to come into a story. Who knows where this will end up leading me!