Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Report from Week Four of the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon

Hey, all--

Thank you again for supporting my writing and Clarion West.

This was a great week. Connie Willis is such a wonderful presence at the workshop: a lovely person and full of both nuts-and-bolts and inspiration. The class seems to be tired (what a surprise) but otherwise holding up well. I suppose I am the same.

Again I barely managed to complete my seven hours offline. There was just so much to do, but I'm glad I managed it. The new novel now feels that it has a solid foundation. It's not coming as quickly as I might hope (so much for my wish to have a complete first draft before returning to my UW job in September) but I'm pleased with what I have, and especially am having fun working with my smart-mouth protagonist.

This week's poem was a bit of a struggle, too. It arose from reading up on Scottish alchemists, and I'm not certain why I started doing that. They don't have anything to do with the novel that I know of, nor particularly for the poems I want to work on, except the Scottish part, and the magical thinking part, maybe. One article I came across included a 17th-century English translation of a 16th-century poem written in Latin by Scottish alchemist, George Buchanan, which basically is a refutation of Copernicus, arguing how the earth really is the center of creation.

I found these sections scattered through the poem and my own words started to build themselves around them. It felt random but also obsessive. This is very much a first draft, but here it is. It's about writing and reading messages, and lighting a spark where there is none.

I hope you find it interesting, and thank you again for supporting my writing.




The Alchemy

-- Georgij Bucanani de Sphaera. Lib. i. in English verse translated by I. C.--

_The tymes of light & shade, Turnes heat to Colde,
And sunne & moone with darkenes doth enfolde,_

spark a match to the wick. Light the dark.
This is the small apocalypse we live
each day, our cells dying as we build
ourselves anew. Open the book. Inside it:



[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.]

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