Last year, I wrote the vast majority of one volume of Of Evernost in, maybe, two and a half weeks, and I was’t happy with it, which…was the plan. (It came out to 50,000 words counting a lot of previous writing pasted in, which is on the long side, as I hope to illustrate these extensively.) Going in, I wanted to think of my draft as something like the underpainting for an oil painting–rough outlines and areas of color, but none of the complexity of the final work of art. And that is what it is.
I’m now going to try to plow through another volume, tentatively titled Of Winter, in a similar way. It’s gotten quite a lot more abstract since I worked on the last volume, and I’m seriously trying to think of it as poetry whether it’s in verse form or not, which makes moving quickly more difficult, but I still managed 4000 kinda terrible words today. I’m going to try for 4000 on days off and 1000 on workdays until it’s preliminarily done. These plans often don’t work out, but then, they sometimes do. So why not try?
In the meantime, here is a Wallace Stevens poem that captures the transition from winter to spring–the projected endpoint of Of Winter and also what’s happening outside my house right now:
Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself
At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.
He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry, at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.
The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.
It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier-mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.
That scrawny cry—it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,
Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.