Blog Post

Today’s Work

Today I wrote 1003 words.

117 of these were longhand, the third draft of a poem I’m calling “Two Lights.”

107 of these were the fourth draft of the same poem when I typed it into my tablet (so I left out ten words which is usually a good thing).

388 of these words were longhand on my Irish book, which at last count has 103,530 words (296 pages). I’ve been writing longhand in pencil and then typing it up fairly soon after and should finish this typed-up draft in a month or so. It has been a long time since I have persevered with a long project, so I am feeling good about this. The plan is to revise and finish it sometime next year.

391 words were typing up of longhand copy on a short essay I’m working on about a family reunion in 1970 in Pontotoc, Texas.

I’ve read two poems from Seamus Heaney’s Opened Ground: “Bone Dreams” and “Bog Queen”–the latter made me want to re-read the book, The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved by P.V. Glob (NYRB Classics)– and wrote the following about Heaney in the Irish book: “The top of my head is still not being taken off by my reading of his poetry but I am enjoying that buzz of pleasure that, Nabokov wrote, is what we like about true art. Heaney’s poetry is full of stuff, good solid stuff like peat, guns, pens, turf, shovels, potatoes, ships, fish, clots, slabs, et. al.”

I also read twenty or so pages from a review copy of Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax by Michael McGregor. (I just finished reading C.S. Lewis and His Circle (OUP) and am shopping around a review of it, and I’m reading still Kay Boyle’s letters in Kay Boyle: A Twentieth-Century Life in Letters, also to review.) Here is a quote on writing from the Lax book:

“Lax told me more than once that the best thing to do was to write for yourself or maybe one other person. If others had a chance to read what you wrote, they were fortunate. Not that he didn’t try to publish what he wrote–he wanted his work to be read as much as any other writer–but he didn’t care about fame or even rejection. ‘The only criterion for how and what to write if you’re sincere about writing so other people can read it and be happy, is to write just exactly what you please the way you want to,’ he wrote in 1939. ‘If you’re writing for any other purpose there are all sorts of elaborate rules, most of which add up to: Write as though you were writing what you want to the way you want to.'”

Go with the good.

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