No wonder it’s taking me so long to revise…
Because I’ve been a Glimmer Train
Finalist several times and, once, long ago, when GT
published poetry, a Top 25 Finalist, and because, of course, GT
is one of the best fiction journals in the country, I subscribe and receive emails warning of the next submission deadline for whatever category is in the loop. Lately, after receiving such an email, it occurred to me that although I manage to get out the occasional poetry submission (hello poem coming out in Askew Poetry Journal
any minute now), it’s been ages since I’ve submitted a short story. And about two weeks ago all those ages
emails messed with my psyche. Remember the movie Jacob’s Ladder,
when Tim Robbin’s face goes all kooky in the mirror? My brain did that and the next thing I knew I was toiling and tooling a chapter of my adult novel into a short story. Perhaps reading, A Visit From The Goon Squad,
had something to do with the brain-spin, too–if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean. What the toiling and tooling did, in addition to excite me about my own work—and exhaust me—was slam me with another brain freakout:
I should be giving each of my chapters close line readings every time I read them—I don’t mean turning each chapter into a short story, but providing each sentence and often each word scrutiny deserved.
Well, PB, you say—er, of course?
It’s like this (for me): I skim over certain bits in a chapter without realizing I’m skimming, because way back in some other writing/revising time my creative mind insisted, That part is fine, move on, when actually that part is not fine at all, not after revision/evolution, not when everything else around that part has been closely read, pummeled, invariably tweaked, and/or tossed a lifeline.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m living that huge chunk of my life that is outside of my nightly writing life (housewiving, mothering, cleaning up cat gak, pedaling the exercise bike while catching up on Sherlock via the—atrociously sweat streaked—Kindle Fire), it’s too easy to forget that close attention must be paid at all times.
All times, all bits, PB.
I am thankful to be reminded.