In the post, “Bringingit Together,” I talked about the process of putting the book into order. Last week, I opened the manuscript and took a second look at how one poem flowed into another. Laid out on my living room floor, I went through the whole manuscript, line by line, and on a pad of paper, wrote out what part each poem plays in the larger storyline. Going through the book like this gave me a chance to appreciate and refine the curves and turns along the way.
At times I was amazed at how the placement of a poem influenced its meaning and gave it greater depth. At others, I found holes where the storyline left off and where the book needs new material to fill the gaps. This is actually a relief to me for I know I’m not done writing what I have percolating inside quite yet. I know there’s more.
Because of this process, I have a far better grasp of where I am on the timeline of having the manuscript completed. I can see the larger picture and can thus focus my writing efforts on what the book really needs instead of a more scattered approach just to get to a total number of poems in the table of contents. Each piece now comes under closer scrutiny. Does it work? Is something not here that should be? Is this message repeated elsewhere? It will be a fun challenge to answer these questions as I work on writing poems for the open spaces using whatever inspiration comes my way.