BULLETIN: Will any of you be going to see the parade in Springfield tomorrow evening? It’s the first parade as part of the annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival and will begin at 6:00 coming up St. Louis Street toward Park Central Square. I’ll be riding in a white Mustang convertible so wave if you see me.
Yesterday I reported my failure to concentrate the previous day on a poem I was writing for a new collection. I had a small pity party and went back to work.
I’m happy to say that within hours I was back in the groove and the resulting second try was a better poem and will go well with the rest of the group. Sometimes going back to the well for a second effort pays off even more than expected.
So lest ye think I’m singing the blues, nope. I’m a happy man and ready to get back in the wheel today.
Yesterday I was reminded of how hard it is to write. I’m working on two poetry collections at once and they’re both serious approaches. Both about animals. Both have been in the works for some time.
I began work on a new subject early and pecked away at it throughout the day. Little by little it began to take shape and late in the afternoon I sat back and read it with satisfaction. It made me smile.
But it wasn’t supposed to make me smile.
Then it hit me. I’d spent the day writing a humorous poem about my subject. How did that happen after all these weeks? At some point I’d lost control and allowed the writing to take over. So now I pay the penalty. I have a poem I can’t use for the collection, I lost a day’s work, and today I get to start over.
The name of the game is Focus. An inconsistent collection isn’t appealing and no editor is going to be happy receiving it. Too often we fall in love with an idea and try to force it into the body of work because WE like it, but ignoring the need to produce a group of same-spirit poems isn’t going to produce an acceptable manuscript. Each piece has to contribute to the whole. I may include my little variant in the manuscript when I submit it, in case I’m judging too harshly, but not without an alternate that I think fits better.
If you need me today, I’ll be here in the penalty box, doing it again.