After the exhilaration of the past week – good writing news, good times with family – I began to take a hard look at how much new writing I have been doing lately. Uh-oh.
Gulp. Stammer. Pretend I have been “composing in my head.” Make lots of excuses about papers to grade. Look around nervously for the poetry police. (Yes, they exist. They are frightening, and they all carry ink-stained bludgeons and look like Charles Bukowski.)
So, last night, I went through my “idea” file and found a series of photos I took at the British Museum last winter of Egyptian ushabti, the small figures placed inside tombs to do the manual labor for their masters in the afterlife’s Field of Reeds. I spent about an hour doing some initial research, then about another hour drafting a poem in alternating voices, a conversation between the entombed masters and the ushabti who are created to serve them. It is a rough, rough draft, with nowhere the level of language or the emotional stakes I want it to have eventually. But it felt good to go off in a completely new direction and just do it.
So I’m back in the saddle. (Thus the line from the Aerosmith song in the title of the post.) Yippee, Kai-Yay!