One Strophe Down. 657,896 to go . . .

At least, that's what it feels like.

So today I finished ("finished") revising the last stanza of the first strophe/chapter of the middle section of my manuscript. At first I struggled to find the right form for this fairytale written in verse, and as I came to the end of the first strophe I had a sense that I've found it, and it's nice to have that sense of confirmation. But it also occurred to me, as I finished the strophe, that I might need to work diligently on word choice throughout the whole poem. The language needs to be simple -- like that you would write for a child -- but not so simple that an adult reading the poem will feel like it's boring, and a waste of his or her time. There's a balance between the child and adult extremes that I need to strike for this poem, and I don't think I've found it yet.

It occurs to me NOW, however, that I should keep this idea or notion on the back burner until I have actually finished the long poem. I'm never going to get anywhere with this manuscript and this sabbatical if I'm constantly revising. I need to finish the damn thing first and THEN revise. So . . . tomorrow I begin strophe/chapter 2.

Earlier this week I sent out six submissions to literary magazines -- all "Sow" poems. It amazes me how much time has to go into submission prep. I think you could make a full-time job out of sending manuscripts to publishers if you were so inclined. Perhaps if I win the lottery I'll hire someone to do all of my submitting for me -- it's so mind-numbing and tedious.

You know what's also tedious? Jokes that end in "chicken-butt". But that's my two-year old for you. I have to admit that I'll be happy when school starts again, because it will give our lives a little more structure, and it will give me a chance to compartmentalize my writing life and my family life, which doesn't really happen during the summer.

When I write during the summer, moments are stolen -- and sometimes not very successfully. These mornings in August, for instance, have consisted of about 30 to 45 minutes of alone time after my husband goes to work. (I find it mind-blowing how long it takes to really get going with my writing, by the way. I'm probably only two or three lines into the poem by the time I reach the 45 minute mark.)

Then the boy wakes up, and he demands his banana and juice and Disney Jr. (Like myself, he's a creature comforted by routine.) Then there's another 30 to 45 minutes of quiet time punctuated by his occasional interruption (asking for more food, more juice, or just coming in to climb on me and talk) until his sister wakes up. Once she's up, it's anyone's call as to whether I'll get more writing time. That's not her fault, either. She's pretty low-energy first thing in the morning (which is not true of the rest of the day!), and thus willing to let me steal a few more minutes of writing time while they both watch TV. But then her brother will notice that she's up, and he'll begin to pester her, which will lead to retaliation, which will lead to someone in tears, which will lead to me yelling and sometimes in tears myself, which is why I shouldn't really push my luck.

Which is why I'll stop here.


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