Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Coming Down off My Writer High

It's happening now. 

I am getting to the point where I am going to be able to see my poems as the raw material I need for a book. I am starting to see the flaws in my poems, the little imperfections which serve to annoy me rather than please me.  In short, I am falling out of love with my recent manuscript.

That's right.  When I first finished my manuscript I was still high on the contact buzz with writing a helluva lot of poems in a relatively short period of time.  I was floating.  I was a spaced out cowboy with no reference point to the earth.  I was absolutely convinced I was adding to the oeuvre of my lifes work with a bold, significant stroke.  This book was not going to be my opus, but it was going to be my announcement that my choice to write about rural America was not a whim, and certainly not a passing fancy.   

Now I still think what I have written is among my best writing ever, but I am getting more realistic.  I am starting to see my book from a more objective point of view, and I am beginning to reach my saturation point---that point where I can stop writing these kinds of poems in favor of new work and not feel as if I am neglecting my manuscript.  It is there where my poems will harden, sharpen, and run themselves through the crucible of the critical eye.

I have my manuscript out to several readers, and as they send back word, give me their impressions, I am able to accept what they say without automatic rejection.  The same goes for poems being sent out to journals.  I am doing the work that needs doing.  Even in the face of my mentor who asked about who my audience is supposed to be (because I am alienating those who would logically be my audience) I was able to say, "I am not interested in writing the book that can get published.  I am concerned with writing the book that needs to be written."  My thought?  Why can my book be both of those things?  And that is what I am going to find out in the coming months.

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