Wednesday, October 27

This is Not Medea

Posted by Shelly Holder

AMMMMMMMMM I about to do this? I think, I think... I think I am about to commit the ultimate writer's sin. Actually, I think I'm about to commit the TWO cardinal sins of writing. I am not going to listen to my editor, and I am not killing my darlings.

(*pause for horrified, stupefied look*)

Oh man, I can't believe I even said that. I can't believe that I'm at this point. But every time I look at the proposed changes on my poem, something wells up in me- "No. Just no. This isn't what I want to say. This isn't how I want to say it. This isn't me."

I've had great revision experiences, from several sources. I really have benefited from the input, and I have learned why the advice is given, as well as how it adds to my piece. And I have been recommended by a creative writing professor, at this point in my career especially, it's better to accept revisions and get published, then revert to the original format in a later chapbook.

Yet. Yet, yet, yetyetyet.

I am not Medea, and more importantly, I am not a minimalist. My style of writing is conversationalist. I tend towards the rhythm of spoken word poetry. There are a lot of "and"s and "the"s and "but"s in my writing-- many which can be removed, but also many that I think function as part of the poem. When I read it aloud, my version has a melody, whereas the proposed version is choppy, rough, fragmented with loss and awkward jumps.

I know that I'm likely still reacting with emotion. Time and distance would give me a clearer head to think through the changes. But even as I have accepted (and subsequently edited in) some points, there are others that I think I must stick by my guns for. I don't want to be the prissy, recalcitrant Speshul Snowflake Poet, but what about my artistic integrity?

I just really hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot.

To cheer myself up, and remind myself of the important tenents of writing...
Devin Galaudet's The Creative Writer’s Bill of Rights (or The Creative Bill of Writes)

1. The artist can turn off all filters and say anything about any subject, at any time, for any reason.
2. No subject matter, no how uncomfortable or offensive to self or others, is off limits
3. No single word: expletive or other no-no should be avoided due to political correctness or fear. If the word is appropriate in the context of the writing, it should stay. *
4. Any random thought should be written down by the writer, especially when the writer’s internal voice says, you can’t say that!
5. No matter how perfect a writing is, it could be edited down further or expanded upon.
6. Sometimes a writer will have to kill his or her babies. This means some great ideas/lines/articles will have to be removed, taken out, destroyed, sacrificed or edited in order to make the writing better. It can be a painful process.
7. Making changes that others have suggested, after careful scrutiny, gives the writer more authority as a writer.
8. Ignoring changes that others have suggested, after careful scrutiny, gives the writer more authority as a writer.
9. Getting a big authentic reaction is good – whether the reader liked the writing or not. Big reactions like “You suck,” is not a good reason to rewrite.
10. Taking a risk is a good thing.
11. Making a difference takes risk.
* Writing for shock value: using words and topics to offend for the sake of being offensive, is not creative. It is divisive and outside the scope of this sacred document — where is good parchment when you need it?
Write Now:
What I'm listening to: "Look No Further" by Dido
What I want most: Second opinions- revise, or withdraw? Comment!