Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


time and distance

words

courtesy Google

I’m working (hard) on a chapbook manuscript. Which is to say, I’m going over work I did — some of it a while ago — line by line, word by word, space by line break by punctuation mark.

I hate it.

But it’s become the metaphor of my week: revision. Or, if you prefer, re-framing. Because that’s what writing allows us to do: reframe our stories.  Revise and thus reframe our lives. Even fiction is, always, at least a foggy window into the writer.

revision

courtesy Google

My publisher said I need to work on ‘sequencing.’ For those of you who don’t do poetry, that’s which poem follows which, and the underlying ‘why.’ I’m pretty good at that for others, not so much myself. Kind of the way we can always give advice to someone else, but often would no more do that ourselves than … well, you know.

It’s taken time for me to disengage from each poem enough to query it. Time, in this case, = distance. At least a bit of objectivity. The newer pieces still seem better than the older ones, because what you’ve recently written is like that. The same way the actions of my recent past are far more difficult to evaluate clearly: I have neither time passed nor distance.

book pile

courtesy Google

But as I try to figure out why I wrote each poem — which helps me figure out the whole ‘sequencing’ thing — I’m learning how to look more closely at even the trivia of my everyday life. I’m better able see the whole picture: not just the overflowing box of books in the living room, but why it’s been so important, lately, to clear out junk (even beloved junk, like poetry books from my dissertation, and old fiction). Why it only really feels like spring when we put the table umbrella up over the deck table. Why I don’t work harder on ‘real’ exercise… :)

All of this is by way of saying that once you start revising/ asking ‘why’…? Well, you’re doomed. Your life begins to unfurl like a skein of impossibly tangled but beautiful ribbon. And when you start following it, it leads everywhere. It may just take a little time to get your bearings.



Previous Posts

ritual and being our own best friends
So yes, I am the person who will make Việtnamese coffee w/ a stainless steel straw, bought specifically for the occasion. Because ritual rocks. Seriously: it offers us structure and space, time to sip a cold drink and pamper ourselves, as we would a loved one. A dear friend. Someone who needs a

posted 1:09:23pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

friendship, memory, and love
My mother-in-law has a friend! This may not sound like a big deal to many of you, but those of us w/ family in elder care KNOW it's bigger than it may sound. Nursing homes -- even good ones -- aren't conducive to happiness, sadly. My beloved mother-in-law was used to her own place, her own schedule

posted 1:18:07pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

time travel
Today over lunch, my husband & I went back in time. We don't do that very often -- it's boring for other folks, and it's just not really us. At least, not most of the time... But today for some reason, it jus

posted 9:07:23pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

where memories live
This is the tag on my father's blanket. The blanket he had long before I was born, probably bought before my mother reunited with him in the Phillipines, 13 months after they married. It's a softly worn (once scratchy) wool, something like the old Pendleton three-stripe blankets (and it has three

posted 4:02:09pm Jul. 19, 2014 | read full post »

wildflowers, watermelon, and summer negligence
This is part of what I did today. Certainly the better part. After an early morning -- spent w/ a lawyer, not every my favourite thing to do -- my sister called and needed help. She'd been left holding the bag (actually, 6 bags) for her HS reunion gig tonight, and hoped her big sis would help out

posted 7:43:37pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.