Monday, November 30, 2009


Just put a month's worth of sonnets in the recycling bin. Shoved them down deep too, in case the trash hauler has an eye for that sort of thing. 30 sonnets written over 25 days or so. For my eyes only--that's what kept me going.

Ron's challenge came at a good time for me as I've been between projects. I'm now getting ready to return to a novel I set aside several months ago. I'm looking forward to working on this story again, but I'm also tentative about jumping back in. I've been circling the novel for a few days now, doing some offstage work on it to help haul the story back from the depths. The first thing I did was simply list the scenes in order, best I could remember. Then I did some short sketches of the characters as I remembered them. I also rewrote dialogue for a number of scenes and did a couple of chapters in a different POV. Indulged in a few dream sequences. Made some maps of important locations. Wrote a couple of sonnets about the story.

Then I reread the thing. It was interesting to see where the exercises diverged from the manuscript. That's one of the things I love about offstage work--it dredges up the stuff that I keep tamping down because I get so focused on what I think will happen next.

I'm headed to the nearby campus library now to write. I plan to set aside the 100 pages I wrote last winter and start fresh. If the going gets tough I know I can always step away and make a list or draw a map or conjure a dream sequence. Maybe write a sonnet. For my eyes only, of course.


  1. "The Lost Sonnets of Marsha Q."--what a cool title. I'm on my way to Eau Claire to raid the bin.

  2. I'm re-encountering ART & FEAR, both in my writing and as a book, from which I'll quote: "Vision is always ahead of execution...and uncertainty is a virtue" (15).

    Here's to re-vision, virtue, and veritas. Strength to your sword arm, Marsha Q!

  3. I love this insight into your revision process and I'd love to hear more as you go. So cool. But what about the PR sonnets?

  4. PR sonnets are at the very bottom of the bin, which perhaps I need to guard for the next few hours. The new PR season starts soon, yes? During residency? Perhaps I'll try PR haiku.

    Other Marsha: Love that quote. Vision is waaay ahead of execution right now.

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  6. making full use of
    macy's accessory wall--
    not so hard, really

  7. Guest judges again.
    Oh, how my sad heart longs for
    Michael and Nina!

  8. How far is Eau Claire from St. Paul? Can I get there and back before my 5:30 pm class? I feel a pull of PR sonnets!! :)

  9. Logan's shiny pants
    Can you tear your eyes away?
    Vacuous guest judge

  10. Oversized sweater--
    did Althea copy it?
    Does anyone care?

    Anne, Marsha, if you're looking for a collaborative project...

  11. Wow--turn my head away for a moment and look what happens! Clearly, a haiku a day is small potatoes for this crowd. Come residency could we perhaps have a Haiku board outside GLC 100??

  12. I was thinking we should have some kind of contest. Sorin-Hall inspired, perhaps?

  13. Sodium content
    of that black bean burrito?
    It's best not to know.

    Just warming up for January!