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This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thrills and Chills

  • I am so excited! My first poem to be published in the pages of a real book is “Word Wrapping” in The dVerse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, edited by Frank Watson. Plum White Press, 2013; P. 151. Hurrah. My poem faces one by Laurie Harris Kolp and is practically in the center of poems by poets who have been reading my work as it develops. Visit us at dVerse Poets Pub .

              The above is my status on Facebook today.  One little poem in one 269-page paper-back publication is making my heart beat fast.  Frank Watson did a great job with layout, order and style, right down to the feel of the paper--not the most expensive--but smooth to the touch.  And these matters of design are important to me as I consider self-publishing a full collection and a chapbook by early next year.  Can I do it?  
              I believe I can, but I'd like to finish the first draft of my novel first.  The poetry books can be the rewards.  Not that the steps of making any book are easy, but it is a work reward for doing good work.  Having just soaked up the wisdom of writers Marge Piercy (my hero) and Ira Wood all weekend up at Omega Institute, I am revved up to treat the act of writing more seriously while maintaining the light tone of the book.  I think.  I think it needs the light tone as it addresses serious matters, but the experience of the Piercy/Wood Memoir Workshop Lab  may alter that. 
              The last piece I wrote about my friend Doug's death is mainly serious and would not easily be translated into my fiction. Nor should it be. Something new is emerging, popping out from behind my privacy screens energetically and eagerly.  Why?  Will it wait for another book?  Or will it shove the one I have started into the back of the file drawer where I keep 50+ years of false starts?
              In my autobiographical novel, so far, I emphasize my theatre and feminist experience in the character of an aging performance artist and storyteller who is being pressured to break her safe routine and isolation by three unforeseen events:  (1) She has been invited to the 30th reunion of her old Women's Center and Theatre Company, both of which ended existence in the 1980s.  (2) She has been asked to update and publish her ancient 1990 dissertation now that her artistic director subject, Ellen Stewart, has died.  (3) Her favorite audience member, Greg, has just lost his mother to the struggle in Afghanistan.   These three events cause enough conflict to expose her experience with racism, feminism, lesbianism, community, theatre, and love's concurrent losses and needs. That is already a lot without drugs and suicides and sex and secretly transgendered lives. I don't lack for material and research to open up the culture of radical change and the stagnation of feminist community in the late 1970s and early 80s.
             In the next phase of writing I will re-outline, I think, in an attempt to separate the story lines so I can satisfy them all and let them re-entwine.  Then if I have to include love and sex to make the work sing I will.  But I really hope it isn't necessary.

              That's all for now--writing to think, thinking to write. The UPS wagon came down the street today and left a book with one of my poems in it at my feet.  Yip-pee!  I forgot to eat, but I'll go and do that now.

    Inline image 1
    I just sent this to dVerse Poets Pub where a gallery is growing.

    Copyright © 2013 S.L.Chast


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