I’ve cut a swathe through the life of a historical figure, written an almost 200 page draft I’m sending to my writing group and Peter to see if the narrative running through make sense. The poems are honed down and have some good imagery, but I’ll want to know which images might be toned down or tossed, and which developed. While the manuscript is with them, I’ve been thinking about ways to strengthen individual poems. I’ve straightened out the mess of my notes on a complicated life, but now everything looks a bit too tidy and needs some kicking around, a few holes smashed to look out to wider views.
Metaphors can make us leap from one thing to another, but any kind of contrast can wake us up. Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate our 28th anniversary, which makes me think how the power of contrast is built into most vows: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live. All those years ago I had my mind on wildflowers, baking a carrot cake for forty people, ironing my cotton dress, as well as love, but right now life is simpler and I had time to get my nails done. In a day spa with pale blue walls, water running over stones, gentle music, and a request posted on the door to turn off cell phones, Shawna patiently tended to my feet with files, creams, and paint. Her demeanor was suitably low key– she was chatty, but soft spoken – and I loved finding out that she learned about Madam C. J. Walker in her cosmetology school. But the biggest kick came when she told me how she loves to watch fast cars on the Speed Channel, something I didn’t know existed. The thought of those loud racing cars, while listening to New Age music, gave me a shock of inspiration.
So I’m off to make leaps in poetry, looking for ways to draw in the unexpected. And to have a celebratory weekend, too. Maybe with a love poem that allows for the variables of a long time together, and just, I hope, gushy enough.
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