Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pain for the Flushed

This is for the lost ideas.
For the thoughts so brilliant in our heads,
Dead on the page, lumpy,
Poke with a stick to see if it moves 
But just lifeless.

A love letter to beautiful lines of prose
Stuck ugly in the wrong story,
In the wrong paragraph, wrong sentence.
So garish is it standing awkward,
All dressed up to the wrong party.

Ceremony for the dearly departed,
Ripped tearfully from existence,
Flushed from the bowl
To spiral fast and faraway through
Vanished avenues.

And to every thought and plan too ambitious to stand upright, every schemer not skilled yet enough to push life into vision, every dreamer too stuck scared straight to put a foot onto firm land - this is for them.

Not a traditional Wednesday post, I know, but I was feeling whimsical this evening. But this really is for those, like me, who have thrown out mounds and mounds of work, prose and poetry, that was either out of place or downright awful. Or maybe not even awful, but just not quite to where it should be, and you spend so much time staring at it, fixing it, that it becomes one, huge congealed blob of terribleness.

The hard part is letting go of gems, those parts near and dear, that came to the mind and to the pen in a fit of brilliance but now, as it is looked upon with sober eyes, no longer does the line, the phrase, the passage, shine like it did during its rough and messy conception. The hard part is tossing these out because you've grown so attached.

But it's essential, this form of self-editing. It is essential to put the health of the work firmly in front of the health of the writer's sanity. Doesn't matter how much you like what that character says or how that scene came together so perfectly - if it doesn't fit, if it strikes the ear strangely (you are reading your story aloud, right?), it needs to be long gone down that storm drain.