A Raw Draft


for Sunday Scribblings writing prompt:  Raw

The Poem

Okay, so I had what I thought was a poem that met the submission guidelines. I tweaked it a bit, adding and scratching out and got it to where I thought it would work. I wasn’t really sure, thought it was a bit awkward in places, but couldn’t see how to smooth it out any further. I typed it up and went off the work.

Once at work, I began to think about what I was doing. Sending off a submission to the one Press I really wanted to see my name in. It was really scary. I had never done this sort of thing before, at least not with a larger press publication. Would they laugh at my homey little images? And maybe I’d overdone it with all the fishing details. The light bulbs came on. I was trying to talk myself out of doing this thing altogether.

In the Hero’s Journey, there is always a point where the hero refuses the commitment to act. To move away from the norm, the safe place, the comfortable traditions of the past. Refuses to make a choice, to let go of what he/she knows, to just sit on it for a while. And that’s exactly what I was doing with all those thoughts. Moving myself swiftly toward self-doubt. I made a decision.

I would go home, write a cover letter, stuff that and the poem in an envelope and mail it out. I knew that if I didn’t do that, I would eventually talk myself out of doing it at all. I would fall back into my comfort zone and never take the chance of finding that wider place of possibilities. I also knew that because of the manner in which this had all come about, it might not happen again. If I turned away now, it would be so much easier to turn away again, should the opportunity re-occur.

In myth, when the mission is offered and refused, some sort of cataclysm occurs that takes the hero’s choice out of his hands. She might be kidnapped, the world he knows becomes altered in such a negative way that he can no longer remain. He/she is forced into leaving that comfort zone, forced into an unknown place where he/she is now alone and must fend for self.

I had studied the stages of the Hero’s Journey found in myth, legends and fairytales. I understood the dynamics and the energies of which they spoke. I felt very strongly that the Universe had brought this opportunity into my sphere, placed it right there in the middle of my path. I was pretty sure that if I didn’t do this thing now, my life might enter into a path I really didn’t care to visit.

I went home from work, typed up a cover letter, made a couple of more changes to the poem, retyped it, and checked it all with spell-check, folded it and stuffed it all into a business sized envelope and sealed it. Then, refusing to think about what I was doing, I got back into my car, drove to the post office, had the thing weighed and stamped, and went home.

When I arrived home and sat down, the first thing that went through my head was: “Oh my God! I sent those people a raw draft!” And heard, inside my head, “Well, it’s too late to do anything about that. All you can do now is wait.”

This is the poem I sent them, the one that would alter my existence. The title had been arrived at during those few unthinking moments. It was a story. As such it needed a background for these two people I had invented from memories, and long ago experience. An older couple, who looked a lot like my mother and father, sitting on their front porch, was the image that came into my mind.

Front Porch Partners
Elizabeth Crawford

They suit one another, rocking
together; she in polished oak
spindles, he in overstuffed
maple covered by blue afghan
crocheted in years past.

She hums a song someone
played at their wedding
while he daydreams of dancing
with their prettiest guest.

He reviews images of work,
playing cards, hunting, fishing;
hears creak of wooden oars
cutting through cold morning mist.

She sees an old trundle sewing
machine, the vegetable garden
bordered on all sides by favorite
bright-colored flowers,

and remembers platters of fresh
fish dragged through flour
then fried to golden crispness
in hot oil of a black iron skillet.

When a frown strains her forehead,
he pats the back of her hand
which slowly turns upward
palming his fingers, reassuring
that she is still there,
still aware of his presence.

For better or worse I was committed, and yes, all I could do now was wait. It was a very long wait. An entire year would pass before I would hear any response, a year full of living, ups and downs, big and small. A year of forgetting that I had actually done this thing.

                                                       (to be continued…)



About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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12 Responses to A Raw Draft

  1. Josie says:

    A beautiful poem! As one growing older with a partner I cherish, there is great meaning in these words and behind them. I would gladly by a book of your poetry if it contained more like this!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Josie, thanks for stopping by and reading. This is the sixth part of the story I have been writing for almost a week now (one piece at a time). The other pieces are under the title One Poet’s 15 Minutes. Someone asked me about my experience of having one of my poems in an anthology that was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Spoken Word category.

      I have never before tried to write the complete story so it’s appearing here in short essay form. The experience is several years behind me now, but it is amazing to me how much detail still remains vivid and clear in my own head. Glad you enjoyed the reading and I do have some chapbooks of poetry that I put together myself over the years. And am thinking of putting another small volume together in this coming year. Fingers crossed, lol.


  2. Old Egg says:

    There is a warm and loving feel to this poem. Memories are certainly things you cherish and live on when you get older, because they allow you to recapture your youth and the magic times in your lives. Looking forward to the sequel.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Old Egg, thanks so much for your comments. They are here on this site (check my comments to Josie), and will continue. Hope you do follow it, it is a rather strange but interesting story.


  3. Kylie says:

    Love all of this. I want to read more…

    • 1sojournal says:

      Kylie, I am enjoying the writing and what I am learning from it. You are more than welcome to read along. And thank you for your comments. I enjoyed the January stones as well,


  4. Mary says:

    I am following your journey with you, Elizabeth. I haven’t had time to comment on each day’s addition, but I have read them. I was so disheartened at your stopping point today as I wanted to read MORE; and there is no page to turn. Look forward to tomorrow.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Mary, this experience was a major turning point in my existence and the path I had been following up until then. I didn’t think I could tackle the whole thing and do it justice so decided to limit myself to these small excerpts. It’s at least a familiar format and doesn’t put too much pressure on me. More importantly is what I myself am learning by doing it this way.

      I’m so glad you have tagged along for the ride. This might become a major project, lol. Had no idea of what would happen when I started, but am now committed, so will continue. Thanks for staying with it, my friend.


  5. Jae Rose says:

    The back story was a journey in itself (and I can’t wait to hear what happened)..the poem was just beautiful, well observed and so natural..like the strange comfort between the old couple in the ‘American Gothic’ painting..I look forward to the next step of the journey..Jae

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thanks so much Jae Rose. I really like the comparison to the painting. And the story does have a few pitchforks in it, lol. But then, most journeys do have bumps and twists, do they not? Glad to see you here,


  6. Vinay says:

    the sequel to this would be so worth reading, Elizabeth.. the poem is intriguing and interesting.. esp. my favorite was that last verse. Kudos!

    Vinay @ I Rhyme Without Reason

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Vinay, I’m doing the story in short excerpts for two reasons. It’s easier for me and no one has to get stuck with a long drawn out reading. Glad you found it interesting,


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