Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oh, SURELY. Absolutely! Surely!

Back when I proposed my sabbatical, I said this:

Because the process of submitting this manuscript [my other manuscript] has been lengthy—which is not unusual in the unfathomable world of poetry publishing—I have also been writing new work, which I now have compiled into a rough manuscript that I have been tentatively calling Surburban Ode or Suburban Elegy or Imploding Elegy.  I plan to use the time during the sabbatical to revise and shape this next manuscript.  The poet Jane Kenyon once said, “Poetry has an intensity about it, which is one of its loveliest qualities, but that’s also the thing that fatigues you when you’re working on it.  There’s a pitch of emotion in poems that you must rise to.  Every time you work on the poem you must rise to it again” (in The Language of Life, ed. Bill Moyers, 224).  The open space of a sabbatical surely offers a writer a wonderful circumstance in which to prepare to rise to that pitch of intensity.

May I just say that my new work, rough manuscript, big pile o' writing, whatever you want to call it--nightmare? arrgh?--is flummoxing me.  I need an extremely large table, and better judgment than I actually have, I think. Yes, a large table, exquisite judgment--or else a match.  A match! That's the ticket!

That "surely" in the last sentence of that proposal--that kind of sounds like bullshit to me.

5 comments:

Middlebrow said...

Revise sentence to read: "The open space of a sabbatical and wine (lots of wine), and really good sitcoms, and movies, and good parties, and did I mention wine? All of those surely offer a writer a wonderful circumstance in which to prepare to rise to that pitch of intensity."

Dr. Write said...

I like "the open space of sabbatical" which makes me think of a big field where all the sabbaticalers are hanging out, having picnics, taking naps, waving to one another, sharing bottles of wine, carousing, generally relaxing. Which doesn't really fit in with the "pitch of intensity" theme, but what better place to work on one's manuscript?
Also, you're a poet!

Counterintuitive said...

That phrase would haunt me in the middle of the night. I'm in awe of sabbaticalists.

CPS said...

Another revision in which you "surely" have utilized your "open space" well!

"Blogging has an intensity about it, which is one of its loveliest qualities, but that’s also the thing that fatigues you when you’re working on it. There’s a pitch of emotion in blogs that you must rise to. Every time you work on the blog you must rise to it again."

Nik said...

A very, very large table. Like a pool table. In a bar. You can lay your poems upon the table and organize them by shooting pool balls with pool cues. The poems that the balls hit into corners are keeper. You'll have to use a lot of chalk.

Or, in less ridiculous terms, I absolutely empathize. There is not enough open space in my brain for what I need to do.

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