My Writing Process

Since last time I wrote, I got an idea for a poem. Max was reading online about girls called Kumari in Nepal who are considered living goddesses. To ensure these young girls are truly the earthly form of Durga, they are put through frightening tests. The one who emerges from the tests without fear is the Kumari. She lives as this goddess until she has her first period–where the goddess leaves her body and she is mortal again. One of the tests is that she must sleep in a room filled with severed goat and buffalo heads with candles all around.

I thought immediately that this would make an interesting poem. Right now I’m just thinking about the information I have gathered. The form or story of the poem hasn’t quite emerged yet, although I have some images I want to use. I want to turn the Kumari into a more personal narrative–tying in some imagery that carries through the entire collection of poems. Sometimes poems flow easily from a place that I can’t quite explain (as “Pulsar” did the other night), but other times I really have to sit with some ideas/concepts/images a while before they can become a poem. So for now my “Kumari Devi” poem is just a collection of note-fragments.

Sometimes I only think of little one liners, or fragments, or stanzas that don’t belong anywhere yet. I keep those at the end of my thesis document under the title “Junk Drawer.” Every once in a while I go through the junk drawer and throw things out, but I usually let these fragments sit a while. If I am writing, I’ll go back to the junk drawer to see if anything calls out to me. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. But I do like having a place for all of my ideas that don’t connect yet. I wonder how other writers approach these fragments.

Hmph. Back to watching Ancient Aliens.

Thank god school starts next week!


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