Reeling It In

Now that feels better. After a week of incubating a certain key line that wanted to be a hook for my latest poem, it finally progressed and took shape into a revisable draft. I know a week’s not much for poets that are skilled in long-term creative process, but it felt like a long time while that key line was annoying the hell out of me. Six little words. Not even long words. Six words that I knew would tie up the poem when it came together; that encompassed the message of the poem for me. There wasn’t even a title yet, and the drifting fragments of other lines came and went without that punch of conviction.

Why did I persevere on this one? Poets who share thoughts on revision advise that some “great lines” be tossed into a bank and left for later revisiting if there isn’t a coherent flow appearing around them. I hope I would have had enough humility to do that with my six-word mascot if things kept not working. But something in me wasn’t ready to let it go. The line wasn’t alone; it had an image around it; it was the image, and I wanted to see it.

Today, when I planned to spend time writing, I knew I wanted it. I also knew that it can’t be forced. But I confess that while I was saying my dual-diagnosis prayers (hey, you, whatever you are, please continue giving me the strength not to take drugs or harm myself in another way today) I threw in a request. Something like “and if you’re feeling generous and whimsical, it would really lift my spirits to birth that draft.”

Coincidence, or testament to the power of asking? Don’t really care–I’ll take it.

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