Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Report from Week One of the Clarion West Write-a-thon

Hey, all--

Thank you so much for your support of me, and of Clarion West. I am somewhat embarrassed that the Write-a-thon is the only thing that keeps me making time to concentrate on my own work while the workshop is running, but knowing you are out there and a report is due keeps me making that writing time.

Recently I've been struggling with a new novel--one that was originally a short story--and I've been frustrated over and over at trying to crack the story open to let out the novel that's in it.

I was wrestling with it this week, and had a sudden revelation about--this is a "duh" moment--dramatizing a portion that I had been having my main character narrate. Then I fell into a rabbit hole.

I've never been quite happy with the first chapter of my first novel, the one I finished revising (or thought I had) last year. Even since I'd done a drastic cut, I'd thought it started too quickly, and I realized I needed to start the novel just an hour earlier and dramatize the the preliminary action before the first scene. That led to some other tinkering and I knew I needed to work on the end just a *bit* more.

I wound up spending much of the week on it, but I'm very happy with the work I did. Even after I realized I'd committed to seven hours offline a week rather than five (the number that was in my poor memory), and had to work from 11:00 to 1:00 last night to complete my commitment, I was happy.

The Clarion West students had a great week and it was terrific watching Mary Rosenblum work with them. Exciting, even. This is a really promising group and they're a lot of fun. I feel honoured to be helping them have this wonderful workshop experience. I love watching them get to know each other and start writing and critiquing each others' work.

Oh, and this week's poem draft. Hmm. 2012 has been a brutal year in many ways, and the echoes go deep. Not that there haven't been wonderful things, too, because there certain have been, but I've been a little haunted, and this poem reflects that.

Thank you again for supporting my writing.




Clear-Cut Spirit Song

--for Devin--

What remains? Waste all around me
and I still stand. What am I spared for?

Spared. Which means alone, doesn't it?
Which means sole survivor. But I'm not.



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

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