As I write I’m in the middle of a road trip to perform poetry readings and conduct workshops in a couple of libraries and with a writing group.
The dates are spread over a couple of days, so I’m spending time in a little dog-box of a motel room, haunting cafe’s and the local library between commitments. Using the time to review and edit old material with a view to using it as my next published collection, (scheduled in my mind for early in 2020).
I’ve engaged in a bit of debate about what direction to go for the next collection.
I’m quite keen to move forward, with new work making into book form. I have collections of work that take me into the realm of fantasy, and to considerations of some aspects of space travel in a very me kind of way (ie not hard sci-fi). As well, I feel compelled to look at commencing publication of my long series of Bachelard derived poems into book form – a c series that might end up spanning several small volumes.
One of the tasks I am setting myself for these collections is to take complete control (with the help of friends) of the creative process. I want to produce the whole of these books without resorting to commissioned assistance.
I don’t know if I can manage that, but it is the challenge that is there for me to tackle.
Against this, I have two collections that have had a previous life in book form, which I’ve since allowed to lapse. These collections are my very first attempt – A Book of Evenings – which represents a very special moment for me because it was the first. Also, the collection Memoir of a Dog, which was designed and illustrated and put together generally by my wife Leanne, back a few years.
This latter collection is perhaps the last ‘memoir’ collection – alongside Small Town Kid and The New Asylum. Between the three, there isn’t much left in the life of yours truly that is worth speaking of, and perhaps it is too much at that.
The essence of the debate about which direction to take lies in the desirability of bringing the past up to date, versus forging ahead into the future with new work. The result has been that next year should see both the older collections resurrected, to clear the decks. Along the way I may engage in other publishing activity (e-books without paperback editions, for instance), but they will be the big projects.
I’m being long-winded, and apologize. The point of this post was to share the joy I’m experiencing, while on this sojourn of performance and isolation in the heart of the big city, in revising and re-reading A Book of Evenings.
This collection dates back to early writing discoveries, early explorations of voice and free verse rhythms. I recall how alive I felt to each idea that made itself available to be examined and written down as a story.
This collection also contains a little subset of poems that formed their own story (perhaps the equivalent of a novella) in the form of Tuesday Night at Emile’s, which was written as a single poem, but grew into the characters of the upright gentleman of fixed routine, emile, his preferred restaurateur, and a girl, a woman, who enters his life peripherally and throws it up in the air through the swinging to and fro of a foot clad in a red, heeled shoe.
I am taken with the story all over again and reminded of how and why I wrote it, its development and why I felt so proud of it at the time.
Nostalgia can be a trap, I think. But, gosh, I’m enjoying this little moment of it.
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