Tag Archives: revision

Perry Como and My Mother-in-Law

Now that National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo are over, I have been revising poems. Mainly, they have been small changes, so either I did better than I thought last month or (and more likely) I am still not seeing them clearly.

Spring is in full swing in Arizona, and everywhere I look it’s yellow, green, and blue.

I’ve been going through some of my mother-in-law’s paintings that were left over after she passed away. (She died 15 years ago, so it’s time to look at them again). The reason I pulled them out is because my daughter moved into her own place, and I am looking for paintings to bring her for her to choose from.

I wrote about my MIL’s art My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part I and My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part II and My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part III

A lot of her paintings are portraits, and those are more difficult to hang on a wall than landscapes. I thought I’d share one of the portraits with you today. Maybe share some more later . . . .

Because my MIL was hired to paint a lot of celebrity portraits, the ones that are left are often “first drafts,” but sometimes she just painted them because they were famous and she hoped to sell those paintings.

Do you know who this is?

That’s right: Perry Como and his family, wife Roselle, son Ronnie, daughter Terri, and son David. Perry and Roselle were teenage sweethearts and were married until her death at age 84.

I love Perry Como’s voice and laidback coooool style. This is one of my favorites:

And this one, of course:

You might prefer different versions, but he’s pretty consistent, so they are all good!

OK, NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION. Was Perry my sweet cat named after Perry Como?

Wait for it.

Perry the cat was named for Perry Como and Perry Mason!

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Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, Arizona, Art and Music, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape

C.D. Wright on Revision

Off playing with my uncle and aunt who are visiting from Mountain Home, Arkansas.

The other day I was watching video clips of poet C. D. Wright who passed away January 12. Coincidentally, she was born in Mountain Home. I found this video where she talks about revision and “the writing mind,” as I would call it.

From what I can find online, they still don’t know how C.D. died. She went to sleep that night and never woke up again. Tests could not determine a cause of death. She was 67 years old and in great shape. A very vital member of the poetry community.

Here’s an article about her death that quotes her brother. Family Mourns Death of Poet Born in Mountain Home

I love how she talks in this video about the way her own mind works regarding writing and revision. She talks about her mind idling after it takes in information. That she can’t respond immediately. I well know that feeling! How about you? 

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Filed under Editing, Poetry, Writing, Writing Talk, Writing Tips and Habits

What I Learned about Revision

I’ve been reading a lot about the revision process this past week. I was particularly taken with a list created by Madeline Sharples.  In her list one particular point stood out.  In fact, I can’t get it out of my mind.

She says “Don’t edit as you write.  Write, wait a while, then edit.”  I thought that for a full-length book she couldn’t possibly mean write one scene or one chapter and set it aside, then revise, then write the next scene or chapter.  That must mean write the whole durn book, then wait a while and then edit.  Wow, why didn’t anybody tell me this before?

For the first couple of years, it’s true that I needed to keep revising because I had to find my story and how to start it.  I thought I had my story—it was about how I grew up with a father who was in some ways wonderful and in other ways a terror.  But it wasn’t until I wrestled with getting my memories down on paper that I learned I had to have a very specific string to hang these beads on.

Well, that’s been accomplished for a year now, and I am still revising by scene and by chapter and listening to a lot of advice from my wonderful and smart readers. But it’s time I take Sharples’ advice and just write the book already.

Then I can set it aside to breathe and start my next book about my goofy husband or maybe my cats.  Maybe finish my play, my young adult novel, or my poetry manuscript.

When I’m ready I can revise the entire book.  Good thing I planned for a ten year process.

Now there’s one caveat to this advice. If you’re a writer like Dylan Thomas , you can skip the advice altogether. He wrote two lines of poetry, revised, and then kept going.  He didn’t go back and revise the whole poem. That’s a writer with the final product in his head from the beginning. I can’t even imagine having that ability.

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Memoir writing theory, Poetry, Research and prep for writing