Two summers ago I wrote:
I create escape beneath my yard’s wind-
bent gazebo, books on spread gingham,
the shrunk house I dragged
into our shade, ticking stove,
stranger’s voice in the toy wall
phone he refuses. Create with a rake
and a cracked hoop and a mound
in the sandbox, blue bucket sunk
in the little dirt stained pool, marbles,
kite’s tail, rubber fish swallowing
a clown’s naked torso. We play
on, into shadow-reach cueing
the rough-pink twilight.
Not much has changed, except that the tiny pool is quite big and silly and faintly green as I struggle for chemical balance. The (elusive) palomino still graces our street some summer evenings, usually just when darkness is about to relieve us from swelter. The bulk of my “valley” poems have progressed, but remain unfinished. And I am still revising.
The pleasure is the rewriting.
—Joyce Carol Oates.
The rewrite is very satisfying, because I feel that everything I do is making the book a little better.
The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.
Today I erased some clouds and made the book a little better. And then we threw things into the silly swimming pool, marveling at our shiny-pink (scary-pink) suburban sky.
I love that image of “rubber fish swallowing a clown’s naked torso.” Awesome.
Also: thank you for the revision quotes! Always encouraging. Because yes, we’re always revising.