A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I dropped off friend on our way home. After a quick U-turn on Jackson, I turned north onto 19th–only to discover that it doesn’t go through and instead looped us back in our original direction. Okay. My daughter thought 23rd was open, so we continued east, only to find that street barricaded as part of a months-long construction project. Fine, we’ll just continue east to MLK way. We turned north there, west again on Union, and on any other night, we’d turn north again on 19th. Not this time–another construction project. We continued west and then turned north on 14th. Not the most direct route home, but we made it the rest of the way without blockages, and pulled up in front of the house only to see the city No Parking Between These Hours signs. We both cracked up, sat for a moment in the dark car laughing.
I realized that this is how my manuscript has been going–first it was a chapbook, then it was a full-length collection, then it was a mash-up of two projects, and now it’s back to being a chapbook. Three name changes. Ten of the poems are brand-new. Two are major revisions. More than 25 poems are out, including several that have been published in journals (that was hard). I feel good about this now–but I don’t consider it parked. Some of those abandoned poems could come back (with more major revisions). Or not. It is a journey.
Bethany Reid’s post about the hero’s journey–knowing what we want–reminded me of this. Even in writing, as in life, I might not know where I’m going to go, or how I’m going to get there, but I need to know what I want, to ask for it, work for it, and stay open to possibilities.