Take what you’ve got and make do

by kathrinewright

Five minutes to read a poem, write a list, look for a form, imagine a character – where she was born, how he wakes, his/her favorite ice cream topping, the memory that pops up when it rains, to open that window, let the air in, just five minutes.

Ten minute to find the groove, flex the muscle, capture the lines that sketch the character to life, to find her a disaster to attach to, to figure out the secret that keeps them doing or keeps them from doing the thing that makes the story.

Five minutes to trace a work back in the OED, to fall in love with the word’s home, to picture it formed in the mouth of that century, to watch it form on the page with other words, to love how it moves.

Ten minutes to research your way through a poem, to figure out the form of a sestina, to take on an ode, to start your way in.

Five minutes to mark up a page, to read it, know the words that don’t belong, to rearrange, reconsider, reapply, remember. The spark that got you going. The one that may no longer matter, now that you’re on this side. But maybe.

Ten minutes. Times two, minus seven, plus eleven, divided by 4. However many that is, it’s something. It’s not zero. Start there