Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blue Moon Over Kansas City

A poet friend the other day was giving me feedback on one of my poetry drafts and in response to something I had written said, "You should read Wallace Stevens if you haven't lately. The crazy things that guy does with repetition and refrains." So, I went looking for a Wallace Stevens poem and read The Emperor of Ice-Cream which I found enjoyable. I then moved away from the poem and began to type. Keep in mind I often begin drafts in longhand. There were just two words that came to my mind and they were, "The pretext" and nothing more. Where they came from I couldn't say, but after typing them from the keyboard with just a momentary pause I began to type again and in relatively short order, maybe 20 minutes at the most I had a draft that I stopped working on. After moving away from the draft for some time, I went back and quite frankly felt that I could do nothing more to it. Not by addition or subtraction other than a change of title.

The number of times I've written something on the spot like this and could not improve on it are like never.  There is one occasion in which I came close to this, but still made some editing changes. It's not an occurrence that one has happen very often, if ever.

I may well wake in the morning and find room for improvement, but I don't expect it will likely change much. That's how good I feel about it. Better than some pieces I've worked on over a span of more than a year. It's moments like this that makes all the other eternal rewrites seem worth enduring through.

Thanks Amy for the advise. How the Emperor of Ice-Cream led me to the pretext and all that followed to write what I now call The Face of Mount Rushmore, I'll never figure out. They are nothing alike, but I'm sure that one lead to the other.

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