I’ve been working on a chapbook, a concept totally foreign to most people who are (a) currently alive and (b) not poetry nerds. A chapbook is a short collection of poems (16 to 20) threaded often on a single theme or story and, I have been told, is intended to be read in on sitting. It’s an undertaking with absolutely no monetary potential, a dizzyingly high crash and burn rate and a behemoth chance of never, ever being read by anyone other than people who like me enough to open it.
Damn. I can’t remember why I’m doing this again.
It’s an archaic format, something that used to be hand bound and sold on the street corner, a grass roots form of publishing, I guess, but it’s also a way of binding poems, which are so damn labor intensive and so incredibly tiny in the literary world, into something larger that might garner notice. If a poem were an exquisite glass bead, a chapbook might be a necklace of matching beads patterned together, something to be complimented and admired. Something to be worn, whereas the single beads seem to just get lots between the couch cushions or down the heating grate, despite how pretty they initially were.
This particular chapbook has made it farther than the last two, which were scrapped upon looking at the poems I’d chosen and deciding that they couldn’t be a more random collection of my work if I had tried. Now, I have a thread running through, but it’s fragile and I have yet to land upon the order that suddenly solidifies them all into a visible whole and that nagging thought, just give it all up and try again later, is starting to creep in.
I am clinging to the image of garden spiders, utterly ubiquitous this year, whose webs I known down every single day in order to actually sit in the lawn chairs. And every day they build them back up again. If my desire to create something is as strong as theirs, I’ll keep trying to string this damn thing together until it resembles something even half as beautiful as a fully spun web.