Revising the Manuscript

I’m working on revising my 3rd manuscript. Since Kit passed away, and even when she was still in the ICU—perhaps even since her diagnosis—I’ve had little passion for the project, but have instead used writing as a way to process grief. There have been good and bad, far more bad I suppose, poems come from this experiment. But I’m at a point now where I feel like it is time to revisit Church Ladies and see if it is still possibly a book.

One theme very clear in the book is suffering and fear of the death of my children; its what leads my family to sometimes say my poems are creepily prophetic. But I don’t think so—I just think losing my children is my very real, utmost fear.

So I’ve thought about including my poems where the Worst Fear actually happens—my poems about Kit—but I can’t bridge them in my own mind. I can see the bridge on paper, how it could work—but Kit is very separate to me. Eventually those poems might need to be included; or maybe they are a different book entirely.

The true problem is that I am not the person or writer that I was when I wrote Church Ladies. I can edit with an indifferent eye, but to add to it feels wrong somehow, just as I’d never add to another writer’s project.

Even if this manuscript comes to nothing, it is always helpful to revise in order to see bad habits (how about the use of “and” to signify the closing stanza? Guilty.) and random favorite words (“curls”- usually in verb form– CURLS! Should I use curls in 7 separate poems? Obviously not. And its in my new poems too. Feel free to leave me some synonyms).

I’m not ready to make a manuscript of my Kit poems yet, but I have a little more than 50–probably more than half not worth anyone reading. I think that is a door I won’t open until this manuscript is complete and accepted somewhere though. It will be an immensely emotional project, and for now this detached bit of editing has worked well for me.


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