Saturday, April 28, 2012

Travel writing

It's pretty fitting that I spent my first weeks here, writing furiously, feverishly at a place called La Fragua (the forge).

Looking back on it, I wrote like a fuse had been lit, like pages were burning behind me. I had no thought of editing, did no second-guessing or fiddling, just amassed raw material. I piled all my files into folders and never lifted the lid. I was a little afraid it was a seething pit of sun-stroked mumbo jumbo. I kept shoving poems in, eyes closed.

I arrived in Granada set to begin editing, but was soon distracted by the city, its tapas bars, its cheap wine and my new colleagues. So, I didn't rush back to the manuscript, just poked around in it once in a while. Tested it the way you gingerly toe onto ice to see if it'll hold. It felt pretty solid, but at the same time, I knew there was work to do.

I've spent my five lovely days at Can Serrat editing and assembling and immersing myself in the project as a manuscript. And it feels good to see it coming together as a tangible thing. But it's funny re-encountering the poems, even after just a few weeks under wraps. With some I can remember very specifically where in the garden I sat as I wrote. Others are completely foreign, like finding someone else's work among my own. "Where did that come from?"

It's what's kind of great about writing in a new place. You get to be a foreigner even to yourself. And it's fun to explore a place you thought you knew so well.

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