Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The Prodigal Poetry Legal Pads Return!

I have gotten to a new stage of the moving process--realizing what's missing and wondering if it's still in a box somewhere.  The morning that the moving van came, I put several last minute things in one last open box:  a plastic gallon tea pitcher, my immersion blender, my small mug from the National Aquarium.  I thought I brought that box with me to seminary, but I'm pretty sure it's not here.  My spouse thinks it's not at the Arden house, but I'll take a last look when I return there this coming week-end.  We haven't lost much, so I don't want to believe we lost a box.  Plus, we checked off all the boxes when they came in.

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.

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