Thursday, September 25, 2008

Second thoughts

Now that the manuscript is finished, all the questions answered
and one poem removed,
I'm having second thoughts.

What about what I didn't do? I wrote from the gut, I revised from the gut,

I incised and included suggestions, tweaked the titles—
I revised, but I did not exercise,
did not underline what must stay and jettison the rest,
did not cut each phrase into a paper strip and play with placement,
did not stretch my lines out long like spaghetti
or chop them short like onions diced
(the sound of the knife on the cutting board).

I did not try all the tricks from all the classes

I've taken on what to take out.

Maybe I did not try enough. After all, I want them to be good

and better than good, the best I can write.

Maybe I am not trusting my gut.

I can send this book out and take my chances,

or I can start from scratch, start over, start hard.

Tell me No. Tell me Not now. Not yet.


Calder said...

Seems like as soon as we send something out, it is then we find the nits or things we want to change. I find it a very difficult task to be totally objective about our own work as we are so emotionally attached to it. After getting the fifth rejection on a certain poem recently it made me realise, hmmm, maybe it's not just "trying to find the right mag to place it at" looking deeper into it, why is it getting rejected. Time to scrap or re-write it.

Your determination is refreshing and inspirational Joanie. I would bet you MS is great. I had two out there, one getting the rejection last week, the other still pending. Maybe you should give a copy to a couple friends for a read and review. Just that act of putting it out there may make you look at it in a different light and eventually, make further improvements.

Good luck with it anyway!


Joannie said...

Good luck on your pending manuscript. I've shown this one to a friend, who gave me some really good suggestions. And I finally got my act together and sent it out to two contests, right on the deadlines. Now I want to get it out to some other contests and open readings. My goal is not to give up on this one.