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30 July 2012 @ 04:39 pm
Report from Week Six (The End!) of the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon  
Hey, all--

It's over. So soon. I'm missing this year's students, and having trouble adjusting to the fact that the 100%-writing-enabling time of my year is already done. It feels like we just started. There are still a few things to wrap up, including a sorority house's worth of pillows piled up on my bed so I can be sure they're totally dry before I pack them up, but that's all.

I managed just the bare minimum seven hours unplugged working on the novel this week. The main excuse for not managing more time was (as I mentioned in last week's report) that I spent a few days days fighting off a bad cold--the first time in the twelve years I've been working with the workshop that I got sick. It meant that I missed a day in the workshop and worst of all, I missed Chuck Palahnuik's reading, which I heard was wonderful and included flying tigers. Flying tigers! Damn.

I am pleased with the novel progress I made--it's moving along rather than trudging right now, which feels good. I'm just at the cusp of one of the big, fun plot events, so it's good to know where I'm going. All the weirdnesses of my protagonist's experience thus far are coming to a head.

This week's poem is a glosa, which is a poem where you take four lines from another poet's work, and build your own poem around them, using each of the four lines for the last of a ten-line stanza. There are also end rhymes on the 6th, 9th, and 10th lines. I've had these four lines from Orkney poet George Mackay Brown in a file for a couple of years, waiting for the right moment to strike me, and when I opened file on Wednesday, this poem spilled right in. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you all again so much for your support of me and of Clarion West!

Love,

--Neile

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The Lark, The Peat, The Star, and Our Time

And a lark flashed a needle across the west
And we spread a thousand peats
Between one summer star
And the black chaos of fire at the earth's centre.
—George Mackay Brown

It was the year when there was no summer,
when it hid under banks of rain, ducked
behind fog, dashing across the street
in front of us, rolling under a car and out
the other side, its face flashing in a side mirror,
flirting for our notice, as though it were a test
of our worthiness. We weren't. Worthy that is.

...

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[The full text of the poem is available to anyone who sponsors me in the Clarion West Write-a-thon or who cheers me on.]