(Note to self: why are you having so many showdowns with inanimate objects, self? What is this agon, this animus, this bellicosity, this pugnacity? Must investigate.)
So I pulled up this piece of freewriting. I reviewed its eddies and flows and I did a little homework (downloading George Jones's version of "Why Baby Why"). I began to pull bits of the freewrite together into lines, the lines into stanzas, the stanzas into something like an argument with a big leap in the middle, and it started to seem so . . . hopeless. Fatuous and hopeless. Fatuous, pointless, and hopeless. (It's sometimes hard to fend this feeling off even if the writing is going well.) I thought, ugh. That hole in the argument? I don't know how to get around that, or fill it in, or make it disappear with magic, or write an invisibility shield to go over it.
It got to the point where I either was going to take a shower or sweat over the poem some more, and I thought, why inflict an unshowered poem-less self on my writing group? At least shower. At least be clean. So I did, and I thought about the recalcitrant poem while showering, and I thought some more and I got some ideas. So I did my hair and got dressed and thought, Never mind, I always show up with a poem, if I don't have a poem, big deal. Maybe this poem is bigger than the time I allotted it. Poem 1, Lisa 0, so what?
But that just made me mad.
So I sat down and I decided to leave the argument-hole as it was and write the strongest second half of a poem I could. And that's exactly what I did. I am a little bit in love with the second half of the poem I wrote, and having done so, I think I know what to do to work with the first half and the hole I wrote myself into.
So the score is now Poem 1, Lisa 1, and I think I will also out-strategize the poem's reluctance to be written when I do the next draft. In the words of Jerry Sloan, I've done what I need to do to give myself a chance to win.