I received this daily meditation booklet back in November. It has three months of one-page writings to contemplate. Today's passage felt too fitting to keep to myself so I thought I'd share. It feels like something for our country to consider at this pivotal moment in time. This is taken from Our Daily Bread Ministries booklet publication (Dec/Jan/Feb). The painting that serves as a backdrop to the small, but powerful, page was done by my small, but powerful, daughter Madeline:)
Just when a person thinks she has, perhaps, created something--invented a thing--one internet search proves that she is not so original after all. But, ignoring the fact that the "word," Prosetry, already exists and that there are some scattered definitions of what it is supposed to mean or represent, I present to you my intention of the word.
PrOsETRY: a genre that mixes the use of Prose and Poetry for the length of the novel.
Recently I finished my latest whole-manuscript revision of my Young Adult Contemporary Coming-of-age novel complete at approximately 63,000 words. It is a milestone for me having written the first draft at the beginning of 2018, revised that draft aloud, sent it through my critique group, queried, received feedback, decided to change the point of view of the narrative from 3rd person to 1st person, made that change and then embarked on this latest pass through which took several months. This latest revision was a word-by-word, read through out loud in my basement (my husband is working from home still, but luckily my kids are in school part of the day). It involved major rewording and of course the disbelief that I thought it was good enough to send out previously.
So--now for the part where prosetry is invented!
In a one-on-one critique I was fortunate to participate in through NESCBWI's 2020 conference, agent Alex Slater's last piece of advice on his critique form was: "-Think about the power of the 'white space.'" So, though at first I was busy with homeschooling during a pandemic and other such things leaving little time to "think," when I made it to September I finally had time to focus and think. That's when the long task of reading my manuscript out loud and making serious revisions began. This time, though, I thought about the power of the white space which gave birth to PrOsETRY: a mix of Prose and Poetry. After all, this novel has poetry running through its veins. It makes perfect sense in this case!
Considering the appeal of Graphic Novels, which is simply a long form of a comic book that combines narrative and illustration, there's no reason why a book has to be all prose (standard fiction) or all poetry (novel in verse). Why can't we blend both and create another hybrid--something like a graphic novel? Instead of visual illustrations to pair with the narration, poetic form is sprinkled along the length of the novel in a way that illuminates (perhaps illustrates) the narrative prose.
So, that is the genre of my YA novel: prosetry. It is not all straight prose in paragraph format, nor is it a full-length novel in verse only. It is a novel where prose and poetry dance together the entire time and allow the white space to exert its power where the reader would benefit from slowing down, soaking in what is being said or seeing a scene more visually--like an illustration would invite a reader to do.
So, I don't care what the internet claims already has been invented. This feels like is a fresh new genre format that is something writers and readers will embrace--celebrate even! It feels like the writer's answer to graphic novel form and I have to say--as someone who has just written a whole novel in the form--it feels so liberating to dance along the page as I see fit.
Prosetry is the perfect rhythm for a young adult novel to dance to.
Confusion: Dark, orange cloud of chaos.
Confusion: Invisible, deadly cloud of coronavirus.
One powerful man, plus one powerful virus, equals
Life, liberty, love--
Destruction, disease, depression--
Only tears to make stone soup,
The stone sits and sinks—stews
waiting . . .
but nothing is added
doors remain locked, neighbors silent.
The bell’s toll proclaims profound need.
Ingredients hoarded, people hide behind the invisible cape of their keyboards,
flying and fighting.
Heroes of the ether—online, in their own minds.
Alone (in disguise) in reality.
But—reality is a memory,
Folklore, near-forgotten fable.
Confusion has replaced community.
Confusion has erased common sense.
Confusion is a blinding light
—manifestation of evil allowed to slither up and around—engulfing.
to speak or act or care—out loud and in person.
Surrendering to be swallowed, spit out . . . swallowed again.
Shuffling from one display of drama
to the next,
fearing the silence more than anything.
Resisting the feelings we ignore
denying reality at all costs—at every opportunity, after each tragedy.
We let the mind work its magic:
Hard edges soften.
Lessons dissolve unlearned, unintentional, unimportant.
Leaving the cycle to start again: same bed prepared, toxic seeds sown, take root and grow--
into more monsters, more mayhem, more of--
That menacing character continues to reinvent and take control,
while we revert to our time-honored history of hypocrisy and
our beloved bevy of distractions (they salivate and wait patiently).
This morning I told my son to put on a pair of socks--it's too cold not to--to which he replied he couldn't find any socks. For an article of clothing so small, it sure does cause a lot of trouble around here. Much time is devoted to picking up, matching, looking for, and putting on socks. So, in an effort to find humor (and socks)--somewhere, anywhere--one of my dauthers helped put together a poster for our precious, missing socks!:)
Happy New Year!
Is there a doctor in the house?
I must say I was perfectly content with the absence of any sort of traditional, enthusiastic celebration of the arrival of the new year at the stroke of 12 o’clock midnight. Staying in my sweats and sitting with my family while we tried (and mostly failed) to find something festive to watch on tv, instead of launching our usual family dance party, was a fitting way to greet 2021. (Actually, I turned in at 10:30 pm:)
Brushing my hair, putting on makeup or wearing anything shiny would have felt phony and forced not to mention a completely false representation of the year as whole. It’s certainly no way to greet a doctor at the door, which is how I see the role of 2021.
Sure, sure—I realize that some who were celebrating were embracing the new year and any hope it may offer—not celebrating the past year—but welcoming 2021 feels less like opening the door to a surprise birthday party and more like the ushering in of a doctor on house call who has just arrived by horse and buggy in the dark to examine the situation and try to save a patient who has deteriorated rapidly.
There’s whispered, hushed relief at the arrival of our only hope and a collective, anticipatory glance in the direction of the ailing patient as we usher the doctor forward unsure if it’s too late or if by some miracle there is something—anything—that can still be done.
Cut back to the kitchen scene set with praying, some pacing, tears of fear and hope silently collecting, but held back. The waiting, listening, clenching.
That’s what I felt and of course I am picturing Doc Baker from Little House on the Prairie showing up to Ma and Pa Ingalls’s cabin or Dr. Clarkson from Downton Abbey as he ascends that grand abbey staircase bound for one of its bedrooms.
Hopefully this new year has some medical background or at least a stethoscope around its neck to put me—even superficially—at ease.
As for my part, I am just going to stand back and let the good Dr. New Year work and hope that health and sanity can be restored, then look forward to whoopin’ it up next December 31st.