Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years Resolutions

I'm mad for resolutions, can't help myself. It helps me focus to have goals or a theme, even if its a Do- Nothing Theme, which might be January for me. I'm so sluggish after Christmas I might as well be covered in mud. I had an amazing writing year last year, an agent, a book deal for The herbalist and winning Writer Of The Year and I kept, most, of my writing resolutions. This year I'm hungry to find out more about poetry, so I'll be doing a lot of reading, and hopefully workshops if I can find the time/cash, but in the meantime, I'm adding a section to my blog posts called Some Words On Poetry.

So, this years resolutions look like this-

Complete Poetry Collection
 I'm working hard on a series of poems, most seem to be inspired by characters from Irish myths and European fairy tales and some are fueled by my own life, I wonder are they two collections or one?
I'll just keep writing and see. I'm reading Strong Words, manifestos from poets on poetry, some of the manifestos are marvellous-  those from Yeats and Selima Hill, but a lot of them would do your head in.

Arrange Short Story Collection
I have a collection of short stories, written over four years, from 2009-2012 and I will be putting them in order in one ms. I also have a few stories, more recent ones, that I want to rework and add to the collection. It's called The Wild Cats Buffet after one of my earliest stories, though it may change.

Write Novel
I'll be working on a new novel, a fast first draft. I had begun a novel I was excited about last year but made the brutal mistake of gabbing about it too early, so its lost most of its fire for me. I'm going back nevertheless to try again on Monday, when the kids are back in school. I'll devote six weeks to getting as much down as I can, and this time I'll stay stum.

4, 5, 6...
This year I would love to travel, Paris would so nicely:) And I'm going to stop biting my nails. And launch my novel this summer. And get up earlier, and be more organised, and get haircuts and .... those kinds of normal woman things...  and, of course, tidy the bloody ramshackling house. And watch loads of silent movies in bed. And rediscover the joys of porridge.


Some Words On Poetry
'Revision is the party'
( from Billy Collins /Paris Review Interview)

'I try to write very fast. I don’t revise very much. I write the poem in one sitting. Just let it rip. It’s usually over in twenty to forty minutes. I’ll go back and tinker with a word or two, change a line for some metrical reason weeks later, but I try to get the whole thing just done. Most of these poems have a kind of rhetorical momentum. If the whole thing doesn’t come out at once, it doesn’t come out at all. I just pitch it...

People say, Don’t throw anything away. This is standard workshop advice: Always save everything. You could use it in another poem. I don’t believe that. I say, Get rid of it. Because if it got into a later poem it would be Scotch-taped on. It would not be part of the organic, you know, chi, the spine that the poem has, the way it all should be one continuous movement.

What was that word you used?

Chi. I think they use that in feng shui. It’s the Chinese sense of energy that runs through things. Poems that lack that seem very mechanically put together, like a piece here and a part there. Because of the workshop and the M.F.A. phenomenon there’s much too much revision going on. Revision can grind a good impulse to dust. Of course, the distinction between revision and writing is kind of arbitrary because when I am writing I am obviously revising. And when I revise, I’m writing, aren’t I? I love William Matthews’s idea—he says that revision is not cleaning up after the party; revision is the party! That’s the fun of it, making it right, getting the best words in the best order.


Old Kitty said...

Revision is the party! Well that is a totally novel way of looking at revisions for me as I dread and hate revisions only because when I re-read my glorious first drafts all the stupid mistakes and yucky crap become so obvious I lose heart and give in to my insecurities! LOL! Oh but I must find the joy in revisions, damn it!!

Speaking of watching silent films - did you see that wonderful documentary on the dazzling Clara Bow (BBC4)?!?!!? I wish some cinema here would show her films! She came across as completely amazing with her big eyes and natural joie de vivre!!

Here's to a sparkly shiny and amazing 2013 for you!! I hope you get to travel lots and am looking forward to all your writerly endeavours!! And of course my signed copy of The Herbalist. Ahem. :-)

Take care

Donna Hole said...

Awesome; I hope you meet all your goals. They don't sound easy.


Theresa Milstein said...

I love your poetry and short pieces you've posted, so I'd love to see you do something with them. So excited about your novel! 2012 was an amazing year for you. May you continue to thrive in 2013. Cheers!

Mari G said...

Great post, Niamh and good luck with all your ambitions for 2013 esp the writing ones - a prolific to-do list and I look forward to reading same!
Just to let you know our writers group had our annual "read your favourite piece of writing" night last night and I read "Kitty" your Hennessy winner & it went down a treat - needless to say...making me feel as if I wrote it myself...oh the joy of that!
Happy 2013!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I too love resolutions and goal -setting, I do a lot of it in January and continually revisit to check on my progress. Sounds like you have a lot going on! Here's to a great year!

broken biro said...

Congratulations on a successful year and best wishes for the new one! Your resolutions sound achievable and are very similar to my own!! Eek... that means I have to achieve them too! That Billy Collins quote made me think... I often come up with bits and pieces that I think will one day be the germ of or fit into a new poem and I've become a terrible tinkerer, too. Thanks for sharing