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Relishing the Work

September 14, 2012

Last night I sat at a sidewalk table with three other poets.  Listening to the music of their words against a background of foot and vehicular traffic produced utter delight in me.  Tim’s “Higitis Figitis” described the Disney cartoon/movie, The Sword in the Stone.  His playful language and clever use of white space gave me brain-tingles.  Ron’s poem that began “I too could die in November” was an answer to a poem written by someone in his over-50 poetry writers group.  His work was lush with dirty urban images and dogs, showcasing his observational clarity and passion for pooches — even to describing their fascination with biological emissions.  Andrea’s poem with a Spanish title “La luna yega negra” or something along that line (please forgive me for butchering it, Andrea) contained transcedent metaphors that engendered a mystical experience.

Later, when the whole group came back together, I listened to a young woman read her poem aloud to us.  While reading, she scoffed at herself and her words.  I was so disturbed by how she denigrated her work that I was way too presumptuous for a complete stranger.  I encouraged her not to do that.  It’s a work in progress, after all.  Harshness stifles creativity.

For me, creating is about the act of getting something out of the self that might look like dross at first, but with repeated review and polish can become something splendid — an expression of that person’s inner truth and/or beauty.  So, I say, don’t apologize for the dross or rough edges.  Simply see them clearly as they are in that moment.  Then, move them to the right spot, the next place, the next space that improves the expression of your creative intent.  Even if that next place is the delete key, the scrap heap or the trashcan.

The draft, review, edit and repeat cycle is all part of the process, part of the journey.  And for me, there’s something sacred in it. And I celebrate and relish it — both yours and mine.

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