As you might know, from the last time I was here, I am working on a poetry manuscript with a definite deadline. Have completed two-thirds of said manuscript, but when trying to line up a list of poems for the third section, I realized there were some rather large gaps. Finally remembered that I had created a memory stick of lots of poetry, several years ago. Went looking. Found five sticks and had to check through each one. Two were all photos, one was prose, another a mash-up of prose, photos, and a few poems. Finally found the one I was looking for, the one with all the poetry.
Have spent the last two hours reading through and printing out poems I had forgotten I’d ever written. More than a few are ideal for my purposes, and that makes for a problem. There are way too many of them for the number of pages I am limited to. Some of them would be great additions to those already “finished” first sections. Obviously, I have created for more work for myself than I intended. All I wanted was a few extra poems to fill out that final part of the manuscript. Instead, I’m afraid I have a whole new manuscript to deal with.
Meanwhile, I got a large tote bag full of books from the library, mostly by my favorite author, Dean Koontz. When I need a break from the manuscript and the templates I am creating, I curl up in my bedroom chair and read. In the novel, The City, Koontz makes a statement I can only agree with. He writes that “a life isn’t just one story, but thousands of them.”
Having spent the last several hours, reading through the ‘distilled moments’ of a major part of my existence, I was forcefully led to believe that reality. I sometimes think of my poems as Cliff Notes, I want and need to remember. And those poems took me through years of memory.
An appearance in Juvenile Court that had come about because I had brought battery charges against my youngest daughter, and a little over a year later, the poem she asked me to write and read at her wedding. An encounter with an eagle that had me realizing how fragile the freedom is that she has come to represent. Poems I wrote about my mother, in her final years, and friends I haven’t seen in over a decade. My fascination with Lilith and her mythology, and all I have learned from the natural world around me. Even poems I assigned in the classroom and joined with my students in working through that creative process. The list goes on and on.
So yes, I have a thousand or more stories, but have to pick and choose which will appear on a hundred pages of poetry. Am I sorry that I went looking for that memory stick (really good name for that little device)? A very small part of me is, but has been expelled on a few sighs of frustration. The much larger part of my person is simply grateful that this old woman even remembered that it existed and then found it.
Yes, it means much more work, but that work will be done amid a far deeper and richer tapestry than what I had before. I can only thank that same old woman for having thought enough of her work to save it.
Note: Image is a photo put through the kaleidoscope app. I chose it because it is so rich and deep with color, like those forgotten poems on that memory stick.