Last Monday, I found out that I didn’t have to go to a meeting, which I thought I did. It freed up my day and I was able to find the time to print out the poems I wanted to consider for a book — a collection — of my work. I printed over sixty pages of my poems.
Yesterday, I woke up and I just had this inkling to work on them. No, it was not an inkling. It was a drive. I was determined. So I went through each one and began categorising them by theme. I started to curate them and discerned which should be in the collection and which should not. I was able to bring them down to forty-three poems. From there, I rearranged them again and fixed their categories and came up with around six “chapters” or “collections.” I then arranged the poems in each chapter to create a dramatic flow.
I now have the skeletal frame of what might be my first collection of poems. It isn’t chronological, in terms of when they were written, but arranged in such a way that it follows a dramatic arc. It narrates my story, in poem form, somehow. I was able to discern a sort of title that I could work with and then began editing the pieces individually. I see gaps that I need to fill. Probably about six to eight more poems and it will be complete.
Each poem can stand on its own, but I intended for it to survive being read from beginning to end, and while it does not tell a coherent story, it follows a narrative flow. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. I’m quite impressed with myself; but this is all my work since 1998. I have over a hundred poems with which to choose from, written over fifteen years. I could have only done this because of that fact.
I then contacted a designer friend if she would work on the lay-out of the book, and asked another friend if she would do the cover. I had asked her before back in December when I was just toying with the idea. Now that it’s moving forward, I asked her if the offer still stands, if she still wants to do it. She said, “yes.”
I edited about twenty or so poems, fixing them, remembering all the things people have said about each poem. I fixed grammatical and spelling errors, fixed the line cutting of some, and removed the unnecessary, repetitive ideas. I made them tighter and tougher.
I have twenty or so more to go and about ten more poems to write and I’ll have a collection that I can turn into a book.
I’ll just have to secure the right person to write a foreword and then write an introduction and I think I’ll be ready to hand it over to my friend to lay-out and design the book.
I did this the whole afternoon yesterday. It was the most amazing situation I have ever put myself through. It was so enjoyable. Every single moment of it was so enjoyable to me.
I now know what it means to be an artist.
I wish I could do this forever, for a living.