Forgive me if I get a bit overly-technical here, but in the back of the tank, that windshield wiper-lever thingy would disconnect from the rubber plug, resulting in the water not being able to fill back up.
With the help of a piece of a wire hanger (and my hands in some freezing cold water in the back of the tank), I could reconnect it, and feel like I’d done some good work (I know, very self-congratulatory--but I’m not a very handy person).
When I think about revising poems, it doesn’t feel like demolition, nor does it feel like painting or repainting. The kind of revising I do feels like fixing plumbing (what I’d imagine it’s like, at least--what a strange fantasy!). I imagine myself sitting on the floor in front of a sink, both cabinet doors open, all the pipes exposed and leaking.
My changes to poems are always fairly minor (usually replacing or cutting individual words or lines, tightening a particular image, or playing with punctuation). And I don’t always know what I’m doing when I’m tinkering with a poem--I don’t know how I want it to turn out, I just know that there might be a trouble spot. If I fiddle too much with a particular poem, there’s a chance I might just let it be (which means....what? I guess that I don’t submit it anywhere or see it as more than an exercise).
For me, the trick is always to let the poem be what it wants to be. I can feel myself too carefully reprettying lines at times, and I have to work against that impulse. I also am on the lookout for places where jumps in logic seem to make perfect sense to me, but I can’t figure out why, and I’ve lost the connecting threads in revision (this happens in my titles sometimes).
I love hearing about other writers’ revision processes. I’ve known writers who rewrite an entire poem several times. Or writers who let poems sit, and return to them over a matter of years (I adore sifting through Brian Brodeur’s splendid site, How a Poem Happens--if you don’t know it yet, get yourself comfortable and wander through the extensive archives and enjoy).
So I’m curious. How do you revise? What images characterize how you revise your creative work?