Wednesday, October 17, 2012

good ol clumsy pete



"Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off so who was left?"
"Repeat."
(deep breath) "Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence..."

It's one of the most annoying jokes I can remember from childhood. Still I had a soft spot for it, and now it's a weird comfort as well as an annoyance--this is kind of what life starts to feel like. Just Pete and Repeat, sitting on a fence. Pete with the shittiest balance known to man.

I picked up my manuscript and paged through it for the first time in nearly two months. Mind you that distance was on purpose and necessary, and of course I'm thankful for it. But you know. Time is so ridiculous. Now I want to tear it apart again. Stitch this, hack away that, shove bits of it in the back of a drawer or under the bed--away from any witness. Encore becomes the album, entire thing needing surgery. Am I back at square one?

Then Pete slides off the post.

This entire process is fascinating to me. I am, once again, rewriting poems that I could've sworn were done forever and always. Paul Valery said "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." A quote that ties me conflicted when I think about my work. I will look at a piece and wonder: is this what I have to say? Is this how I need to say it? Some will find ways to change while maintaining the exact crookedness of the original skeleton. Framework there, limbs spinning different.

Doing what you love is never done. Did Repeat whisper this to Pete when he climbed back to perch? Does that mean Pete loved falling off the fence? Does that infer that I love the scroll of drafts stretching out behind me, that this madness of process is my exact source of fuel?

Yep. I'll take the rewrites and late nights of line sharpening. Gotta take the rejections and victories too(trying as hard as I can to celebrate every step of this damn waltz). It's never going to be done but that's kind of why I have to keep going to begin with. I will keep immersing myself and frustrating myself and giving the mirror and pen pep talks. Do. Not. Stop. Like the cake walk. It's in a circle, repetitive til the music stops but guess what? THERE'S CAKE.

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