I’ve been chronicling my project with my wife on this blog. I’m going to write a sonnet series about the creation of California. I’m using the dual stories of William Mulholland and John Muir to tell the story of water in California, what really made it what it is. Ann’s a visual artist, so she’s going to do the graphic art work for it.
I’ve been working on the newest version of this collection for a month or two now, and it’s going fairly well. The writing itself is flowing since I spent all those months researching, developing, and drafting. I wrote half an epic, then got rid of it. It wasn’t working. I wrote a third and scrapped that too. What I’m working on now has clicked. It’s good.
The thing is that Muir and Mulholland aren’t in it any longer. There’s one mention of Muir at one point, but other than that, they’ve just disappeared. History has disappeared from it too although a lot of the poem mention pre-human history. I don’t know if that counts as a historical project or not, and I don’t really care.
What I do care about is that the writing works, and that’s no surprise, I guess. Once the writing got started, it took over. What seemed to make sense during the research no longer worked once I sat down behind the computer, and that’s all right. That’s how it should work.
It doesn’t mean that the research was pointless. All of that studying infuses its integrity through my poems. That is good. I’m not going to abandon this iteration of the project. This is what the collection is going to be, and I’ll start working with my wife now on how she wants to illustrate them. She’s a brilliant artist, and I can’t wait to see what she creates.
Finally, I’ll start sending these out to magazines to try to publish them. I can’t post them here because I’m afraid they’ll count as previously published. Some magazines count any posting that way. Twenty-seven weeks into the process, and I’m just starting to get the sense of how to publish the work and where it should go. That sounds about right.