Songs From My Soul

I just reorganized my closet, dresser, filed or shredded papers that have been on my desk for months. I’ve got a bag of clothes, shoes, belts and sundry other items ready to take to the local women’s shelter. I’ve folded and tucked away winter sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and corduroy pants and pulled out the summer dresses, shorts and sleeveless tops. I live in Los Angeles and we’re a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to switching over from our mild winters (We do love to wear our boots and puffer coats, as soon as it goes below 60.), especially this year, when Covid is on the way out and I, for one, am itching to get out in the sun—to the beach, desert or just on my balcony for a few minutes a day, to soak up a few rays.
 
All of this is to say, I’m not writing a whole lot these days and don’t feel the urge to do so, except when that occasional lightning strike of inspiration zaps me on the head. What I have been doing is organize, revise and sort through my last year’s trove of poems, as I prepare to compile a new manuscript to submit for publication. I’m still a few months away from completing that task, but am making steady progress. A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and printed out each poem (yes, paper & ink copies), categorized them as to their form and content and created a “project” document to keep track of what needs to be revised, discarded and what was a “final” piece.
 
I have to say though this was, at times, tedious and frustrating (same poem in multiple revisions in different word folders, etc.), in the end I was so thrilled to have done the work and a planned way forward. The creative part of writing a poem, essay, or novel has its own challenges and emotional ups and downs, but after the piece is written, it is then that the right brain has to step in and get it out into the world. I love a good system and over the years have set up a spreadsheet for all my submissions, keeping track of what journal I’ve sent to, the date sent and if the response is a “Yes” or a “No.” And, anyone who has done submissions knows, there are a lot more of the latter, than of the former. It’s really out of your control once the poems go out in the world to be received and, depending on the aesthetic of the journal and the editor’s preferences, accepted or rejected. I try to approach it as a “bookkeeping” kind of process, so as to not linger too much over the intrinsic meaning of each poem and the emotional connection I had with it when I put it down on paper. They are my “darlings” but they need to let them go to stand on their own out in the world.
 
As a person who calls herself a poet, an artist, it is important for me to share my poems. They are songs from my soul. I could keep them to myself, but I really think I would wither and tire of every writing them, if I didn’t share them. I need to know they connect with someone out there, that my soul can touch another soul. This is why I don’t begrudge the time it takes to revise and hone each poem, as best I can, to attend workshops to continue to grow my craft, and, lastly, to accept rejection as an acknowledgement that I took the risk and was willing to feel that little sting when a poem is not accepted, know that is not personal, but feels like it so potently, at the time. I’ll keep going, keep putting the poems out there, doing readings and submitting manuscripts for publications until the muse takes leave of me. It’s what I do and, even more, what I feel honored and very, very grateful to do!
 
Peace & Poems!

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