How are YOU creating a character-driven novel? Please share with us in the comments below.
It was my first trip abroad in 32 years. For two months I wandered solo from Paris to the French countryside and attempted time-travel. In my computer was a half-completed novel called Looking Glass Girl.
I’ll start my story near the end, with a poem I wrote in the final days of my artist residency at Camac Centre d’Art in Marnay-sur-Seine, population 236.
The real story is that I struggled with my novel and its painful subject matter.
The taut ground of soothsayer
Who broods in caverns for a glimpse of light.
How have I lost the glinting stone
I kept so long in my fist?
I have thrown down despair
And taken Struggle
And now it prowls round me as I sleep.
The eyes of Struggle
Are amber and do not blink,
The eyes of Seer in the dark
Who pleads for just one breath of day.
You speak in riddles because
You ache to speak.
You ache for space
To expand and contract.
You cast your words into the chasm,
To be caught by one
Whose breathing holds your breath.
When your foot finds the brink
You ask the air
I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.
But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art.
Those most beautiful
I couldn’t read for a crowd.
When Sexton, blind with love,
Saw her daughter’s life stretch out,
When Thomas sang in his chains like the sea,
And refused to mourn–
Once I was in that cold embrace
They carried me along and up and down the peaks of waves.
I was in thrall.
This is a course description for a poetry class I hope to offer this summer at Bellevue College.
Teen Poet: Dancing on the Razor’s Edge
Poetry is dangerous. The instructor urges extreme caution. Bring paper, pens and words (caged if necessary). Hear the work of young poets, published and unpublished and then let your own words out. Cut through the steel bars and let loose what you really want to say.
This one goes out to Michelle Castleberry, and is best understood as a response to her fabulous poem, “The Gift.”
The night you stole the hives,
We had gone out—
A thousand of us guys—
One last rollick on the town
Before sampling the delights of our virgin queen.
The girls had fed us ambrosia for days
As they gazed into our compound eyes
And exclaimed at the size of our mandibles.
This month I join a slew of poets who will send a postcard a day with an original poem written on it. This one goes to Lenora Good. The card had a frog on it, so here’s what emerged:
Torpor is another
of the frog’s proficiencies—
that pond-bottom state where
respiration slows and the heart calms.
The work is not yet complete.