Spring Revisions

My family is in the midst of a remodeling job. Our kitchen is completely ripped apart, there is a tent around it, and cooking is temporarily suspended. Old cupboards are sitting comfortably in our garage until they get carted away. There is dust everywhere.

Remodeling is a messy business.

I loved my old kitchen for what I could do in there – create something that would feed the people I love. Cooking is one of my personal therapies. But that kitchen didn’t work quite right for me. Every time I got down on my knees to reach into a cupboard that wasn’t designed to be user-friendly, I would swear that there had to be a better way. Every time I banged my head on the too-low fume hood/microwave over the stove, I wished I could just push the whole unit up higher. And then there was the wall that divided the kitchen from the rest of the house. Whoever cooked was cut off from whatever went on in the living room. It was kind of dark in the kitchen, too. I needed light!

But I’m not a remodeler. I don’t how to make those kinds of revisions to a space that is so important to me. I do have ideas, though, as does my husband. I’m sure you know how it goes: call a professional, get advice, make a budget, proceed.

Which is exactly what we did. We’re using the services of Derek Stoeckel from House Doctors and BC Anderson Electric, Inc. Excellent people, by the way.

And now we are working through the messy bit. It was a more than a little painful yesterday when the wall between the kitchen and living room was sawed in half. I had to keep my mind on what our goal was as I tracked white drywall dust all over the house. I had to remind myself that this was all temporary. Just go outside and breathe.

This is the perfect analogy for poetry revision, too: when a piece isn’t working, rip it apart, throw out the stuff that really doesn’t fit, get advice, put it back together. Don’t be afraid to toss out entire lines, stanzas, or even the whole thing. As I go over some old pieces to see if there is anything worth salvaging, I think about which lines make me bang my head, which phrases make me stumble. There are all these precious words I’ve held on to for far too long and it’s time to let them go or fix them so they work. Also very messy business. But at least there’s not so much dust.

In both cases, I’m really looking forward to the finished product.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Every Day Poets is looking for short (60 lines/500 words or less), fine poetry submissions. All types of poetry are considered except for children’s poetry and poetry with gratuitous sex/violence/graphic language. Responds within two months. No previously published work will be considered. Please see submission details here: http://www.everydaypoets.com/submit-story/