So, I wrote a poem in a few hours yesterday for my class tonight. During workshop, I let it slip that I wrote this poem in a few hours yesterday, and was given the warning: Don’t ever tell us you wrote a poem in a few hours. My response was stammering, “Well, I was thinking about it all day Sunday.” This was not a *complete* lie, and it seemed to have a placating effect.
What I don’t understand is why taking a few hours to come up with a first draft of a poem for workshop in an MFA program is not a good thing to reveal. Personally, I’m often curious about a writer’s or poet’s process, and in terms of making a “great” (or at least admirable attempt at a great) poem, well, it takes lots more time than what I put into the first draft. Not to mention the sharing and the workshop and the carrying it around in my back pocket or clenching it in a ball in my fist kind of time. So, why was the fact that I (only) spent a few hours writing this draft of a poem so disturbing to my peers? Was it because it was that good? Somehow, I doubt it. And somehow, I doubt that my classmates put any more time than that into their writing when they’re under the pressure of an “exercise,” a deadline and the demands of a fairly busy life.
It’s nights like these where I would have liked to call someone and chat about such matters. I talk to the husband, of course (though he’s working tonight), but on nights like these, I really miss Ben. Or being close enough to some friend to know where they are and that I wouldn’t really be bothering them with a telephone call at 10pm to bitch about the writing process. Or my own lack thereof.