01 July 2012

I'm at a writing conference!

Hello! I am at a writing conference in Maine. I am thrilled to be here for many reasons, one of which is that it means I'm not in the Hell that has descended on my town in northern Virginia in the form of a heatwave and blackout. Getting here on Saturday was a long and stressful venture, and now I am finally here! And Maine is gorgeous and relaxing and I'm looking forward to the writing workshop.

I'm sharing a room with two friends. Our writing program booked an entire building -- it appears to be an old house converted to dormitories -- and we scored the best room: tons of space, our own bathroom, and windows overlooking the water.

Tomorrow will be our first day of classes. My class of science-medical enthusiasts will be going to these laboratories where scientists research what appears to be every type of human disease imaginable. It's a mouse research laboratory. We'll talk to 4-5 scientists while we are there, and they've also arranged for us to have lunch with the scientists so we have more time to talk to them.  I am incredibly excited about this. There's a good chance I may come up with an idea for another piece for my thesis while I am there -- I want a more medically-oriented piece -- but if I don't come up with one tomorrow, there's still the animal necropsy on Tuesday, the bird research island on Thursday, or something else (Maybe a genetics laboratory? I've forgotten.) on the following Monday. So we have a full schedule, besides the writing I plan to be doing, and I'm extremely geekily excited.

There's not very many poetry students here (only four, and I think I've met three) so I felt halfway confident playing with the magnetic poetry in the living room while I had the room to myself in the early afternoon. I'd read an interesting story about a magnetic poetry contest last week, and although I sadly failed to save the link, it seemed like something fun and creative to try my hand at. Here is my result:
Sing of time to Summer 
We trudge under sun,
swim on sweat,
worship sky. 
Will rain recall spring,
whispering in women's hair,
crying for a tiny moment,
saying, "Are you still there?" 
Leave language above,
gorgeous & bitter.
Here music has gone.
Death rose with winter.
I was mildly pleased I'd managed to make something halfway poetic. At least, I liked some of the phrases, even if it didn't make terribly much sense. Frankly I admire anyone who can make a great poem with magnetic poetry.

"Can we take apart this awful poetry?" someone said later in the evening. "I mean, whispering in women's hair?"

You just gotta laugh.

But I think I'll stay away from the magnetic poetry while there are poets around who study things like rhythm and meter and whatsits!

There's no use in being sensitive to criticism when you're at a writing conference. We're all going to have pieces go through a workshop at least once. And I've been through a workshop before. My submission about the ham radio operators will be workshopped on Wednesday. Luckily, I'm pretty sure I'm a much better science-medical writer than I am a poet. I ought to be, by now!

More to come on the writing conference in the next two weeks...

Now You!

Have you ever made a poem with magnetic poetry? Here's a place you can do magnetic poetry online. Play around with that on your coffee break :)