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Trail Wood Journal, Day Two

July 28, 2020

There were bats last night!  As I understand it, bats eat between 6-8,000 insects per night.  So for every bat I see, that’s 8,000 fewer bugs in the world.  I saw at least three last night.  So that’s 24,000 bugs I never have to deal with.  To paraphrase the President, I like the numbers were they are.

Today was my first full day at Trail Wood.  Had some difficulty sleeping, not unusual for me in a different bed.  I finally nodded off between 1-2 am.  Lollie got me up at 6 to let her out.  She’s a little confused by our presence here.  I wonder if she thinks this is where we will live from now on?   I spent the morning reading some older poems.  I’d like to put together a poetry collection–I have quite a few that I like, certainly enough for a collection.  Given that I will likely not be able to do a staged reading of my new play (other than on Zoom) anytime soon, I think I will put those financial resources towards a poetry collection.

I think I’ll divide it into parts–the first part will be poems on nature, and my experiences growing up a part-time Indian.  The second part will involve the poems from and written about the other aspects and geographies of my life.  Reservation poems, and off the reservation poems. I think it was philosopher Luce Iragaray who wrote about world traveling (not in the literal sense).  I would like the two sections of the collection to describe and illustrate the different worlds,  hopefully in a way that reinforces their similarities.  That’s the goal at least.

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So I spent most of the day reading, revising, and rewriting my poems.  Some are written by a young man clearly trying to sound clever and poetic, and at this point amount to juvenile exercises of interest to only me.  I stuck those in a folder called “archives.”  There were a couple more that were definitely cringe-worthy, but the ideas were redeemable.  So, I decided to change the perspective of the poems from me to someone else.  In other words, I imagine a character very different from me, then the write the way this person would see it.  That was an exercise I did very rarely when I was younger. It’s amazing how much both poems were improved by that process.  I think with some more work they might be good enough to end up in the collection.  One in particular I am very happy with.  I’ve also set a goal to write one new poem a day, based upon a long-neglected idea list I’ve been carrying around for years.  So I did write today’s new poem at breakfast.

It turned out to be a very productive day.  I’m ¾ of the way through preparation for my collection. I ended up writing drafts for two new poems, wrote a synopsis for three of my plays (very helpful for submission purposes).  I’m also half way through reading Billy Collins “The Art of Drowning” (already finished “The Trouble With Poetry”).  To celebrate, I treated myself to We-Lik-It ice cream, which is just a few miles up the road here. 

The thing about Trail Wood is that it is very isolated.  I’ve only seen one other person while I’ve been here, and I am reasonably certain he was not a guest but one of the caretakers, as he was heading off on a trail with his weed-wacker.  Either that, he’s a local eccentric who likes to take his power tools for a walk. Or both, perhaps.  Regardless,  the ice cream was delicious (a scoop of chai, a scoop of salted caramel, with hot fudge) but it was also nice to hear other human voices, if only for a short while.

The solitude, though, is intended to help the writer or artist staying here focus.  Certainly, that seemed to be the case today.

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