patience as a virtue…

It isn’t ready.

Reading through a piece I’ve been hammering away on for the last several months I come to this conclusion. It just isn’t ready. I reach a paragraph in the middle of the piece and break into tears every single time and in that moment all I want to do is show it to someone but it isn’t ready. It just isn’t.

I recognize that part of me, that young and hungry little girl who wants so desperately to be affirmed at that moment. I see  her in the paragraph I’m reading and it is as if she leaps into my living room and stands in front of my computer, waiting to be seen, waiting to be heard, waiting to be read but she isn’t ready. The piece isn’t ready.

And then she tells me that she is afraid she’ll never be seen, never be heard, never be read. She is afraid that the world will end before she’s had her chance.

Emily Dickinson wrote over 1700 poems. Most of them lived under her bed during her life. Only 11 were published while she was still alive. Emily Dickinson kept her work to herself. I don’t know why she did that. I don’t know if it was the condition of women in publishing, if it was that she did not feel her poetry was good enough or if she felt that her work was too good to send into the world and be torn apart and consumed. In any case, I envy her that ability to keep it to herself. I envy her that but I don’t know yet why. Perhaps it is only because I don’t know how to keep mine to myself long enough to let it be ready to leave me, to go out into the world and be consumed.

But  today I realize this piece isn’t ready yet. I might be maturing then, leaning into patience and choosing to wait; standing, stirring, staring into the pot waiting for it to boil. The piece isn’t ready. It’s still undercooked; not consumable except for those few lines in the middle and maybe a little around the edges.  I’ll keep an active eye on it though so that it does not overcook, dry out and lose all flavor. I hope that when it’s ready it will still make me cry. I hope it will make you cry too.

But it isn’t ready yet.

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