During the past week, as I've worked on poetry submissions, I thought about how long it's been since I typed in new poems. I write poems by hand on a purple legal pad. In an ideal world, I would return to the work after a few weeks, make revisions, type the poem into the computer, and start sending it out into the world.
Over the last ten years, my best practice has dwindled. In a good year, I've entered 5-30 poems into the computer. I think it's been about 2 years since I entered anything new. My submitting has also dwindled, and if I'm not submitting, why type drafts into the computer?
This morning, I reflected on a good reason to do it--because then I have it. For a brief minute, I thought I might have lost my box of purple legal pads full of rough drafts, about 10 years of rough drafts. I had more legal pads, but I had entered all the finished poems out of them. For decades I kept all the rough drafts, just in case. But it's become clear that I'm unlikely to go way far back to work with drafts. I can barely keep up with the recent rough drafts.
The thought that I might have lost all of my recent rough drafts (a decade's worth of rough drafts) made me feel wretched. It didn't make me feel any better to realize that I didn't remember exactly what might have been lost.
Happily, I thought I remembered that they might be in the box with my sketchbooks--and happily, they are.
I will likely be in this apartment for the next year or two. Let me not waste this time. Perhaps, if I focus, I can get all the more recent poems entered into the computer before it's time to move again.