Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dale Tracy : my (small press) writing day

This is a picture of an ocular photograph. Because I carry my work day with me through different spaces, and the poetry parts happen, when at all, in bits and pieces between things, a picture of my brain occurred to me (in my brain) as the best representation of my work space. The back of my eye is brain adjacent at best, but it’s the best I could do. Let my real eye stand in for my mind’s eye.

5:30am Live out my day’s best thinking time with Red Rose tea and marvelling. Use most of my best thoughts on deadline things but sometimes—gloriously—on my-choice things. When lucky, record a poem from another world I lived out in sleep.

8:30am Walk 3km to work. Try to notice the world and respond creatively. Mostly plan what I need to get done today.

9:00am Enthuse about literature (this—gloriously—is my work). Talk about poetry with a glint in my eye that suggests I might be a little poem myself. Write cover letters for job applications (because so much of this glorious work is performed by precariously employed contract workers), trying to express the wholeness of my being with poetry-like condensation. Have ideas in between things instead of about things. Translate those ideas out of relational space and into concrete items, out of a spiral of simultaneity and into a linear argument. Or write a poem. Eat lunch at my computer while I work. Marvel at words with my colleagues. Also, do paperwork, the opposite of poetry.

5:00pm Walk 3km to home. Try to notice the world and respond creatively. Mostly plan everything I need to get done tonight.

5:30pm Eat for a long time, then do some mix of the following. Grade papers and marvel at the opportunity to see how another’s mind works (it’s even more intimate than reading poetry; it’s another kind of world-crossing). Be with other poets, my wonderful friends. Talk to my mother on the phone, in all my glorious strangeness. Listen to her entirely different strangeness that somehow made mine. Listen to my father talk about these strangenesses he chose and helped make. Speak my best lines of poetry as conversation to my partner, never recorded and merged into the ongoingness of daily life. Consider carrying a notebook to record my own wit and decide it would cramp my aliveness style.

9:30pm Bedtime. Have dreams from another world. Marvel, even asleep.

Dale Tracy is the author of the chapbook Celebration Machine (Proper Tales, 2018) and the monograph With the Witnesses: Poetry, Compassion, and Claimed Experience (McGill-Queen’s, 2017). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The GooseArchThe Week Shall Inherit the Verse, Gatherings (a chapbook series edited by Stephen Johnson and Jenn Cole), an Artfest Ontario anthology, Puddles of Sky’s illiterature series, and What it Satisfies, a four-poem chappoem from Puddles of Sky. Dale Tracy is Assistant Professor (on contract) in the Department of English at the Royal Military College of Canada.

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