This year has been, without a doubt, one of my most productive years in all of the many, many years I have lived (as my birthday nears and I come closer to adding another number to said years, I felt the need to add another “many” here). I’ve just finished four solid months of writing a poem or a something a day, and I’m kind of shocked to be able to say that I actually, really, truly and honestly never skipped a day. I’m even more shocked to be able to say that I actually, really, truly and honestly sometimes wrote more than one poem a day — sometimes up to four?! It’s as if some kind of super-productive zombie interested in eating ink and paper instead of brains took possession of my body for four months.* A lot of it also had to do with the support of my colleagues and friends and fellow writers, both my fellow Grind members and the Georgia Southern folks, especially those who wrote along with me through NaPoWriMo, and I can’t even express how grateful I am to all of them.
I guess, in a lot of ways, it feels like it’s not entirely my accomplishment: it just happened, and kept happening because the people around me are amazing and, well, I’m really stubborn. However, even if it doesn’t feel like my accomplishment, it’s still my writing — and I’m the one who has to take the next step (or, rather, the next series of steps, which will probably lead me to more steps).
The question I’m facing now is this: what happens now? It seems like a simple question but it’s really one of the most difficult ones with which I’ve ever been faced: what does happen now that the zombie is gone and I’m just plain old Emma, sitting here and staring at pages and typescript that’s starting to not even look like words? Now that the manic pace of production has slowed, what’s next in the process?
Really and truly and actually and honestly, though, I think perhaps the answer might be simpler than I thought. I think perhaps the answer is just this: the process. What’s left is what’s left. What’s next is what I do with it.
First, of course, comes the processing part of the process: putting together the puzzle of what I’ve produced and what needs to be further processed. I thought I’d share my results on the blog through a series of stats and averages, so here goes it:
The Grind Daily Writing Series Stats and Facts
Player: Emma Bolden
Poems Drafted: 128
Essays Drafted: 3
Various and Sundry Bits and Bobs and Pieces of Prose (Typed): 9
Ill-Advised Trips to the Gas Station to Purchase Chocolate, Which Was Nearly Always Kind of Old and Nasty: 9
Preferred Beverage: Diet Coke
Average Hours It Took Me To Get To Sleep Because I Drank Too Much of My Preferred Beverage and/or Was Thinking About Poems and Bits and Bobs and Pieces of Prose: 2
Average Number of Nightly Feline Arias Performed by Gertrude Stein in Protest Over the Fact that I Either Was Not Asleep or Had Just Moments Before Fallen Asleep: 3
Average Cups of Coffee Consumed Every Morning: 3.75
Poetry Manuscripts Drafted: 2
Essay Collection Drafts Completed: 1
Average Hours a Day Spent Shopping for Shoes on the Interwebs Rather Than Writing Poems: 0.75
Cartons of Ben and Jerry’s Consumed: 2 (Red Velvet Cake and New York Super Fudge Chunk)
Memoirs Outlined and Begun: 1
Number of Abandoned Projects Returned To: 2
Average Number of Times I Said “Why in the Name of Everything Holy or Unholy Ever Am I Writing About Jellyfish All the Time I Mean Really?” Out Loud and Confused My Cats: 3.8 a day
Number of Times Alice B. Toklas Accidentally Trapped Herself in the Closet, Bathroom, and/or Screened-In Porch: 12
Number of Times I Decided to Write Found Poems to Justify My Watching Reality Television Programs: 4 a week
Chapbooks Drafted: 1
Container Garden Plants Planted: 16
Container Garden Plants Surviving Even After I Forgot to Water Them: 15
Preferred Beers: Innis and Gunn (Original) or Shock Top (Raspberry Wheat)
Preferred Wine: Pink Moscato from the Rite-Aide**
Preferred Albums to Play Over and Over Until I Think My Neighbors Were About to Call the Police and Report Me for Being Kind of Creepy: Born to Die, Lana Del Rey; The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond; The Execution of All Things, Rilo Kiley; Blackout, Britney Spears***; Birdy, Birdy; Elton John, Elton John; Les Miserables: Complete Symphonic Recording; Collected Works, Simon and Garfunkel; Chess in Concert starring my future husband Josh Groban.
Average Number of Times A Week I Took the Nonsensically Long Way Home in Order to Sing Along to One or More of the Aforementioned Albums as Loudly as I Could So My Neighbors Wouldn’t Make the Decision to Finally Call the Cops on Me: 1.74
Bizarre Drawings Made to Serve as Notes for Poems: 36
Number of Days Since the Grind/NaPoWriMo I’ve Worked on My Writing and/or Wrote Something New Despite the Fact I No
Longer Have To: 5. In other words, every single one.
Surety that I Need a Daily Writing Routine After All So Um Oops: Infinity. Plus one.
*For a far better and far, far more lucid description of what The Grind is like, please do travel to my good man Ross White’s blog for his entries about how it started and why in the name of God we do this to ourselves.
** People, this is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE, okay?
*** Seriously. NO JUDGEMENT ZONE.