Friday, March 27, 2009

Poetry Friday: An "Earworm," or a Writer's Potentially Empowering Refrain?

It's Poetry Friday in the KidLitosphere! Kind of late in the day (it's three-thirty-ish at my house) to slap together a participating post, but I just this minute decided to join the fray. About an hour ago, I languished on hold FOREVER waiting to talk to a colleague, and the song I heard — "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" — has not yet left my brain:

If you love me, let me know / If you don't, then let me go . . . ./ If you love me, let it be / If you don't, then set me free / Take the chains away / That keep me loving you.

Really, what's a writer girl to do with a rhyming lyric like that if not take to her blog with Poetry Friday–pertinent thoughts. I'm hoping the sharing will release me from the song's earwormy grips . . .

So, as I got back to business at my desk, the song's refrain having super-glued itself to my auditory cortex, I started noting the many opportunities we writers have to feel said refrain as we deal with all types of feedback loops on our various paths to publication. Examples flow from absolutely everything I'm working on right now.

(1) In my sights from writers wanting me to show their work some love, preferably ASAP: a pile of 20 manuscripts I need to critique for a literary contest that connects winners with potential agents and editors; an email from an aspiring author asking me to evaluate a piece of writing; and a manuscript I'm editing for a publisher client.

(2) Writing work of my own that I hope will lead to more yays (!) than nays (!), and sooner rather than later: new writing for an upcoming first-pages clinic; the detailed outline I just this morning emailed an editor for an already-contracted book (is it too soon to check in for a reaction?); the two (count 'em!) draft manuscripts I want to revise this year and pitch to an agent; the Grades 6–8 lesson plan I'm currently revising to satisfy a reviewer's wishes; and a broad synopsis/basic storyline chronology I submitted earlier this week to a new publisher I'm probably (though no contract yet exists) going to write for.

Hmm. You can see which list is longer. And why, perhaps, the song tapped in to my professional psyche instead of my personal one (which tends to know where it stands). My writer's head pulled a Babblefish on the hooky lyrics and heard: "If you aren't interested in . . . or you don't like . . . the writing I've sent on spec or under contract (ETC.), then please just let me know so I can move ahead/on (by either trashing, fixing, or rehoming) in a dignified way."

It's all par for the course in a writer's day, and so often produces some of the crazy-hazy dynamics of courtship. Don't you think?

Now, for your listening/viewing/poetry-sussing pleasure, enjoy this clip of Olivia Newton-John performing the song live.

The radio version I heard on the phone was a bit slower and felt kind of "lovesick" to me. But this sassier version makes the person delivering the message seem secure, in control, and ready to face the situation with confidence, regardless of what the other person thinks or does. And that's the attitude I try to embrace as a writer. If a professional relationship or partnership (or, heck, just a piece of writing) doesn't work out, ONWARD AND UPWARD is the only way to go!

For today's complete Poetry Friday roundup, head over to The Drift Record.


plumbelieve said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the musical break. I have recently discovered the joy of poetry through song as well. I am impressed in particular by the verse of Carole King. What a fun way to tell a story.

Have a good week with all you have to do.

Cindy (another native midwesterner who never left)

Robert A Meacham said...

Hi Lisa,
I am a poet at heart and every other part of the emotional sense of the word.Here is on for you!

The Dancer
The night I slept, I awoke in a dream
And there you stood, this lovely beam
Casting your poise, your beauty fair
As music dances in midnight’s air.
You are the song of the Troubadour,
The lute and gay tambour
loved of yore.
You dance the mazy dance of old
With your flowing robe laced with gold
And your gay attire and jeweled hair
Brush by me the odors sweet,
Where in a dream I came
To kneel and breathe love’s ardent flame
That lays burning beneath your feet.

Lisa said...

Cindy, I agree -- Carole King is great.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful poem, Robert!