"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Sent off the 201 page manuscript of my second novel on Wednesday and this poem by Anne Bradshaw* sums up some of my feelings...


THOU ill-form'd offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true
Who thee abroad, expos'd to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, of so I could:
I wash'd thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joynts to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run'st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i'th' house I find.
In this array, 'mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam,
In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus'd her thus to send thee out of door.

I especially like the line

rubbing off a spot, still make a flaw

Sometimes it is hard to know when to give up on the editing, sometimes a little distance** is needed before you can decide when to leave well alone or when major surgery is required.  It's in my agent's hands now and I know he will look at it with a critick's eyes.
I wait. I wait.
*  America's first published poet. Northampton born, she was part of 17th century Massachusetts aristocracy - the men in the family were state governors and founders of Harvard
** Aristotle recommended nine years I believe...

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