Thank you so much for your past and present support of me, and of Clarion West. I apologize that this is so very, very late. It's not just that things have been so busy (though they have), but also that this week's poem is a birthday present for my husband, Jim, and his birthday wasn't until this Saturday, July 6th. He's also a sponsor, and I didn't want to give it to him before the day because I like to make a fuss on his birthday (even though he'd rather I didn't).
It's thanks to supporters and sponsors that I wrote anything the first week of the workshop. Writing would not have happened had I not had this commitment.
My writing time was in bits: fifteen minutes here, a half-hour there, mostly because of losing expected time and grabbing other time when I had it. I'm certain it adds up to at least my seven-hour promise, but lost track of the pieces along the way, and was a day late with the first draft of the poem.
The fiction I had intended to work on (and did, a little) is my novel, The Empty City, which needs a second draft. See my write-a-thon page to read the opening of the novel, should you wish to.
However, I have once again been distracted by re-reading the early chapters of The Road Between, my Gypsy Davey novel, and with much despair realized that the beginning wasn't quite right.
I wound up spending much of the week on it, but I'm very happy with the work I did.
The first week of the workshop, guided by the brilliant and amazing Elizabeth Hand and enhanced by cogent, eye-opening comments by writer and critic John Clute, was a wonder. The students had a great week and it was terrific watching Liz and John work with them. This is an intense and accomplished group with tons of promise and I'm enjoying getting to know them all and am honoured to be helping this workshop happen for them.
As I mentioned, this week's poem draft is a birthday present for Jim. It was also sparked by a comment from a student about books she loved that I misunderstood, which sent me looking for a book called The Summoning Spell. I was astonished to find that there is no book with that title. Someone needs to write that.
When I began I thought that was the title for this poem, but that shifted once the first draft was completed when I was driving Neil Gaiman to an appointment and had some time to kill before picking him up. On the way there we were talking about climate (as one does in Seattle when the weather is un-Northwest-like hot) and he was saying how he's used to the British (and *usual* Northwest-like climate) while his wife prefers the heat. So this poem is also for them.
Thank you again for supporting my writing. And for supporting Clarion West, which inspires so much of my writing.
Come layer of prickle-sweat masking faces
Come the trickle into hollows, down the spine
sharpening each body's scent--
If you want too see the rest of the poem, please let me know by following the instructions at the top of this message.