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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Poems and lice combs

Let's be brave and forgive Kristin Stewart.
So yesterday we found more in common with Kristin Stewart than we could have ever imagined. So much so we couldn't stop thinking about it today, mainly because we were still reading headlines like this

Kristen Stewart Writes Worst Poem Ever, Stands By 'Every Mistake She's Made'

with most people believing that actually letting that poem out in public was one of those mistakes.

But of what is Kristin guilty, as we asked yesterday? She's a movie star/fashionista/gossip generator/human being. Because of three of those four things, she gets interviewed by magazines like Marie Claire -- not exactly a bastion of literariness. And they asked her about writing, and she said this:
She often writes intense little verses, words or strings of words, rearranging them in a process she herself doesn't understand but believes is somehow essential to her sanity. This poem, written after the Twilight saga had officially ended, is typically raw and candid. Before she reads it aloud to me, she says, "Oh, my God, it's so embarrassing. I can't believe I'm doing this."
 I wonder about the 'intense little verses.' Did the Marie Claire writer get to read more of Kristin's work? Did Kristin admit to a larger oeuvre, and self-describe as 'intense'? Did the writer have to get down on her hands and knees and beg for Kristin to share her poem? So she reads the poem first -- and then, I assume, provides the magazine with a copy, so it could be faithfully rendered in the pages of Marie Claire. Kristin knew this was going to see the light of published day.

Where, I assume, an editor had to look at it. And did that editor think, wow, this is some poem! By Kristin Stewart! Or did he/she think, wow,  this poem sucks! We are going to get major SEO once this hits the internets! Or maybe, wow, this poem needs work! I wish we were a a literary magazine so I could help Kristin craft this into something she's not so embarrassed about.

We'll never know, but the writer in me hopes and the editor and  teacher in me wants to believe that last thought went through someone's mind.

Because that's what this young woman needs -- a good teacher, a good editor. I can throw some words up a blog that few read and who cares? I'm just having fun and using white pixel space as a daybook. And I try to be aware of my inadequacies and go through a few drafts before hitting 'publish.'

She's not only putting her stuff out here in a magazine with a circulation of about a million copies -- the exposure is multiplied by infinity thanks to our friend the internet. And she becomes open season for her first draft. Which also seems to be her therapy -- and most writers can sympathize with that.

I think I read she's 'taking some college classes.' I hope so. Because then she'll learn a little about self-editing, about going through your work with a fine-tooth comb -- you know, like you use when someone has lice -- and work at it and work at it until the poem is so refined you can't look at it any more, and you can't change another word, and even if people laugh at it or make fun of it or call it the 'worst poem ever,' you're not embarrassed because you know it's the best you could ever, ever write.

Or you can not be embarrassed because your stuff all stays locked in your My Little Pony journal. But that's not very brave.

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