Over the past few months, I've written 5 new poems for the witch manuscript and revised a few of the older ones. This may not seem like a lot, but I'd consider it a fit of productivity. I am not a particularly disciplined writer. I have no set writing schedule, and I have no reliable "process." What I do have is obsessiveness. This is one reason why series work well for me. I am not, on the whole, an autobiographical poet, so I don't really have a starting place if I don't have a project. The first project was the Ella poems, which have so happily found a home at dancing girl press. The second is a series on filicide that takes up a large portion of my first manuscript The Rock Garden. While I consider The Rock Garden finished, each year that passes with it still unpublished, people keep killing their children and I keep adding poems. Eventually, they may take over the whole manuscript and I'll change the title to The Book of Dead Children (which I love as a title, so maybe I'll change it anyway).
The witch has been the major project of the past 2 years, and when I decided the other day to see how these new poems fit in relation to the larger series, I realized that what I was looking at was essentially a completed manuscript. It's a manuscript still in need of revision, of course, but most of the poems have been written. This does not make me happy for a multitude of reasons.
1) I already have another manuscript that cannot seem to find a publisher (see The Rock Garden).
2) I don't think the manuscript lives up to my initial vision of it.
3) I don't have another project yet. What the hell will I write now?
4) It doesn't have a title, and I can't use The Book of Dead Children because the children in this one don't actually die.
5) The witch does. As much as I wanted to save her, I could not get around that damn oven. Stupid Gretel.