Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some Thoughts on Revision

On Friday, I finished revising my big term paper for Torrery. On this weekend's to-do list: revise 10 of the 12 poems I turned in for my poetry class this semester.

"I like to think of revision as a form of self-forgiveness: you can allow yourself mistakes and shortcomings in your [first draft] because you know you're coming back later to improve it. Reivision is he way you cope with bad luck [or bad habits] that made your writing less than excellent this morning. Revision is the hope you hold out for yourself to make something beautiful tomorrow though you didn't quite manage it today."

David Huddle, "Let's Say you Wrote Badly this Morning"

But revision is difficult. While I appreciate the opportunity to fix my mistakes, there's those moments when it's bad. and I know it's bad. and I don't know how to fix it.

Then there's other moments when I really like the original work I did, but the assignment is to make "significant revisions" and, if I don't, my grade goes down. That, I have found, is where humility and Eliot's perspective below becomes essential:

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others...
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning...

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot
(excerpted from "Little Gidding")

Four poems revised and six to go. God, give me motivation and creativity to help every word find their home--"taking its place to support the others...the complete consort dancing together." It really is beautiful.


Beauty in a Barn and a Blanket of Snow

Beauty in a Barn and a Blanket of Snow