Spring!


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TO SPRING

by: William Blake (1757-1827)

THOU with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!

The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!

Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.

O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.

At last, first day of spring! Not that it seems any different – it’s gray, cloudy, rainy, although warmer which means the humidity is way up. If you could see my hair…

Anyway, there have been a number of discussions on various blogs I read lately about editing and revising, who likes it, who doesn’t, writing crappy first drafts and so on. On that subject, here’s a quote I rather like, it gives me some small measure of hope:

It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.
– C. J. Cherryh

Ha, now if only I could be assured of the brilliant revision in my future. My problem has always been to ignore how badly things come out at first (the proverbial shitty first draft) and just press on with getting the story down. I’m actually looking forward to starting the revising segment. I say this now, before I’ve actually started it. I may be singing a different tune when I get there.

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17 thoughts on “Spring!

  1. Dear DD: Thanks for sharing the flowers. The sun is trying to shine in my window as I write this. Not quite succeeding, but making an effort. Spring will show up sooner or later! I’m almost ready for revision myself, and actually looking forward to it. I enjoy the process of playing with words, deepening characters, and re-arranging the plot.

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  2. Hi Uppington,

    It’s slow arriving here, too, but at least I think we’re past any danger of snow at this point! (at least I hope we are) My daffodils are finally starting to bloom, later than many in the area.

    Writing, rewriting… it’s all part of the process for me. I’m making headway in the storyline just now so not spending time going back to tidy anything up yet. I feel like I’m saving that for later, it’ll almost be a treat (at least at first!)

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  3. Hiya Astro Sis!

    Well blow me down, you like Blake too? 🙂 Why am I not surprised. That line “Our lovesick land that mourns for thee” really hit home this year. He was extraordinary, I love his art and even have the William Blake Tarot that came out a few years back. I don’t work with it much, but like to look through the cards and use them for meditation.

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  4. That’s a great quote. I’m going to print it off and put it over my writing desk. And, yeah, I’m definitely in the liking-revision but not-liking-drafting camp.

    The first day of spring wasn’t bad around here. Seasonable (which is the 50s) and sunny. But lots of rain on the way. I’m just glad it’s not snowing. We had so much snow in December it was not funny.

    I’m a Blake fan also. I found this nice, 713 page hardcover of Blake’s poetry and prose at our local library book sale for a $1.00.

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  5. Score, Jenna! Wow, a hardcover for $1, that’s awesome 🙂

    First day of spring was pretty typical for this area, but it only sprinkled briefly and I had a pretty good run with my running partner at lunch so I was pretty pleased with that. Great way to blow off steam, too.

    We didn’t get as much snow as most places this winter, but for this area it was phenomenal. It was very tiresome, since this area is so completely unprepared for it. It’s just been dark and gray and colorless for so long, I had to put some color on my blog at least. I did see some cherry trees starting to blossom yesterday, so we’re close now! Feels like we’re climbing out of Purgatory.

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  6. It’s funny, I rarely enjoy poetry written after 1900 or so. Great way to introduce spring–though it’s felt like summer here for about a week and a half. I know if I lived up north I’d be complaining about sub-zero temperature and ice on the roads, but sometimes I wish we actually had a real winter. 🙂

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  7. Oh, I remember seeing some pictures of the Blake tarot online some years ago. Curious- do you not use it for divination because the pictures are hard to read or did it just not click with you?

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  8. It is a real departure from the Waite-Smith standard, which is kind of my “mental” deck, so I did have a hard time reading it. The titles of the Majors are altered in many cases and the minor suits are Painting (earth), Music (air), Science (water) and Poetry(fire). It’s all wrapped around Blake’s writings, the Zoas and Emanations, etc. It’s a very complex deck. I guess if you can get used to the different suit names you could read it like a standard deck but I got wrapped up in trying to follow what Buryn was trying to do and it was too much for me.

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  9. Hi Sam,

    Be careful what you wish for, you could find yourself with a foot of snow down there next year! 🙂 Might want to buy a snow shovel and tire chains now, just in case…

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  10. Ha ha, very funny. Actually, two weeks ago, we got 15 minutes of hail. It was like a winter miracle. Next day, high of 82 degrees. 🙂

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  11. The first day o’ spring and revision are about the same thing: hope for what is possible, no matter how bad it might look in the moment. And it’s not brilliant all at once – the beauty comes slowly, in increments; you just have to have faith in the process.

    Last fall I saw Junot Diaz speak, and one of the things he said that stuck w/me was that just because you’re not good at [a given technique: dialogue, the 1st person, the 2nd person “you,”] doesn’t mean you can’t keep revising it until it IS good. If it works for a guy who won the Pulitzer for fiction before he turned 40, who am I to argue?

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  12. And thank god for revision! If I was expected to turn out something readable on the first go-round, I’d turn in my keyboard…pen…hammer and chisel right now!

    Did Junot Diaz happen to mention how long it took him total to write “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”? Just curious.

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  13. He said it took him about 11 years (he was teaching and publishing sort stories in the meanwhile, plus “Drown,” his first collection of stories, was so well-received that I think maybe some excerpts from “Oscar Wao” got published in that format,) and that it wasn’t just about the revision: he had to mature as a person in order to be able to complete the story.

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  14. If it’s good enough for C. J. Cherryh, it’s good enough for me. I think you’re right to press ahead no matter how shitty you think your draft is. The hardest part is just finishing the thing. One of my problems is is hesitating and fumbling and going back over things when I should just press ahead. Look forward to watching your posts here when you begin revising. I’ve seen a good blog post recently about revising. The woman was so organized it was amazing. (She probably has no cat hair on her furniture either…. ) Beautiful flowers! We have flowers blooming in the yard now, and the temperature is hovering in the mid-60’s. 🙂

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  15. Indeed, C.J. (if I can call her that) seems to know how to go about getting a book published.

    Ah yes, turning off that internal editor. That’s what NaNoWriMo taught me: Just keep going and don’t look back! When you’re trying to crank out 1667 words a day, there’s no time to go back and revise. I swear that number is burned into my brain now.

    And if that woman has no cat hair on her furniture, there’s only one explanation: she doesn’t have cats. 😉 Fie on her! There’s something unnatural about being that organized.

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