I’m starting to memorize (or re-memorize depending) poems from The Bones of Us. I’ve got two down so far, and by the time next February rolls around, I may have most of the collection memorized.
In lit world, I’m the oddity for performing memorized work. Other readers ask me how I can memorize poems or flash fiction. I can tell you how in three to four days (and the defunct Idiot’s Guide to Slam Poetry provided this invaluable advise originally).
Day 1: Read the poem aloud several times throughout the day/night.
Day 2: Read the poem a few times aloud before turning the paper/cellphone face down. Perform. If you make a mistake, start again. Repeat until you have performed it perfectly once. Practice throughout the day/night..
Day 3: Perform your poem while doing other things, like taking out the garbage or jogging or washing the dishes. Look at the poem if necessary. If you keep messing up a line or a stanza, you may want to consider editing it. Practice throughout the day/night.
Day 4: Perform your poem while doing other things, through the day or night.
Day 5+: Practice whenever, doing whatever.
I take an additional step in performing something against a very loud piece of music. It helps my concentration when I am in a live environment and weird stuff happens I keep performing the poem. Here’s one song I’ve listened to while rehearsing:
I treat readings like a concert. I want cause people to react a certain way and paper/phone/tablet creates a barrier between the performer and the audience. At the same time, I can see how the paper/phone/tablet acts as a balance pole in the great void of public speaking.
I’m also working on the long talked about, slowly worked on Jesus Christ, Boy Detective origin novel/novella. Two chapters into the edits. I’m also writing side stories that will help the novel/novella, as I do when I want to get away from the novel. I have figured out most of the universe. I just have to keep chipping away at it bit by bit. I have time.
Last Saturday makes it six months that I took a new position and moved to Seminole County. I like my position a lot. I get to write every day, and occasionally train in the field. I am not a fan of Seminole County. There’s too much sprawl. While there is a taproom two miles from my house that has delicious beer, I am a whiskey drinker. It has been a little isolating (which has given me more time to write, but still). I know this is temporary exile. If certain transportation efforts go through, it will make life a lot easier. For now I have to deal with it and the consequences of being too cheap and terrified to drive.