I spent a lot of time today thinking about my intentions for tomorrow's feast. The way I want the table to look, who should sit where, how I should time every dish, course, segment of our evening. In the end, some of those intentions will be realized and some will certainly not. Every Thanksgiving has been made both better and worse by things going off-plan. (I think here, first, of the oft dragged-up story of the year we ate at midnight because I didn't know how to cook a turkey, and also of the time a squirrel ate the pie crust I had cooling on the porch, but also of that one Thanksgiving when we played impromtu charades and laughed hysterically for an hour.)
More appropriately, though, I it also made me think about poetry, and how I often sit down with a prompt, or a plan, but only sometimes go that path. Writing formal poetry is one way of working according to plan. Thematic poems, too. But even starting with a last line, or an organizing image...that's organization of a sort. I rarely if ever write completely free, and I'm entirely curious about people who do. How does anything *go* anywhere? I couldn't do it. Some friends I know couldn't start with a plan or everything they write feels contrived.
But--okay, and here's my own plan veering off course--you know what, kids? I think I might beg my wonderful hosts at BAP to give me more than a week of blogging. Because I swear I have lots of deeply-considered and potentially interesting things to say to all of you, but right now I'm about to fall face first into the huge stock pot of autumn soup. (A recipe, by the way, I stole from my wonderful friend, the amazing poet Rebecca Lindenberg.)
Yeah. See, my family arrived today. En masse. From Brooklyn. They haven't been cooking, no, but they have been talking. Loudly. And borrowing my car and stealing my bed. And arranging my furniture. (It's already arranged the way I want it, of course.)
God, I love them. God, they are A LOT of a lot of a lot. And Jillybean and I will be waking up at 5:30 to prep and cook the turkey. Woo, Lord. Woo, we're thankful and tired.
So, here. I'll leave you with some fun, maybe. And an explanation of the title.
Jilly's idea of blue (butternut) humor:
And bleary-eyed, after yet another trip to the market:
And a poem. I love William Matthews a lot, but this poem will be filed in the "what we're NOT doing this week" section of this blog post:
On A Diet
BY WILLIAM MATTHEWS
Eat all you want
but don’t swallow it.
And your question:
If you write, if you art, if you music: do you start with a plan? How does it all happen for you? Do you think working either from a specific place or without one makes for very different work?