I’m nearly done with what Anne Lamott calls a “shitty first draft” of my novel. More than likely it’ll top out around 70,000 words. I’ve been careful not to go back and re-read too much of what’s on paper yet. There’s time for that, hopefully. My goal, really was just to get a first draft done by Nov 30th. I’m not sure where it will live after that apart from my computer hard drive. Maybe I’ll let it breathe in the dark for a little while and see what comes of it in the spring, a literary tulip garden planted deep when the weather turns cold, trusting that I’ll see shoots of green pop up from the ground in the Spring.
In the meantime, I thought I’d post another poem today that I’ve managed to work a couple of lines from in my book. It becomes the motivation for one character, late in the book to transcend his “reasonable actions” and do something completely out of step with the rest of his peers, something sacrificial, something ultimately redemptive…
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?