sometimes (rarely)((very very rarely)) I have a lot of time to write and edit and no will to do it
and sometimes I have very little time to write and edit and an enormous drive to do it
which is how things are right now–every six months or so, I feel like I can come back to my poetry manuscript with fresh eyes and give it a good tidy-up.
This always feels like a dramatic overhaul, but, in reality, I maybe wrote a few new poems for it, pulled out a couple old ones, rearranged this poem to another part of the manuscript, changed a couple line breaks here and there. But then when I’m done, I feel like “ah yes, this here is a winner”
My 4th manuscript has been a finalist/semi-finalist in about half of the very few places I’ve sent it, so I think it is pretty close to ready. The thing is, it’s about my daughter Kit, who died at six months old from a rare genetic condition and heart defect, and I am incredibly protective of this manuscript and reluctant to let it go.
I wrote it to be read–and to share her story and the story of our grief for her–at the same time, it is difficult to let that project be Completed and out into the world.
And then I have questions like “how could I ever manage a reading from this book?” (without dissolving into tearful Anne Sexton level dramatics)
I suppose that is a question for my future self to handle.
As it is, I can get in there and enjoy crafting the manuscript as a separate thing, an art, rather than the emotional ties I have to it (reading it aloud to people would be a whole nother matter).
All that said, I have two precious weeks in April in between teaching online courses where I plan to revise the manuscript and write specifically for the manuscript (if I can), and hopefully come up with the “newest, best-ever” version.
And then, taking my courage up with both hands, send it out.