And what makes the right word or phrase come when you need it the most? Sometimes I just have to stop and give thanks, overwhelmed by the magic that is the creative process.

I should say first off that I am in intuitive writer. I can’t outline (in college I wrote all my outlines for papers AFTER I wrote the paper.) Pre-plotting in any standard fashion isn’t something that works for me. Deconstructing scenes for what is wrong or looking through a book and identifying the many layers and what they all mean/symbolize/or are supposed to accomplish makes me feel like I am in a foreign country driving on the wrong side of the road – I’m moving forward but I’m never quite comfortable that I know where I’m going or that I will get there in one piece.

That means I rely an awful lot on instinct in my writing and instinct, like the muse, can be a temperamental friend. Which makes last night all the most special to me. It was one of those perfect writing times when all the planets line up just so and the words come out of their hiding places, creeping, crawling, marching down my arm and onto the page, rearranging themselves into a poem I didn’t even know was missing from the book until I saw the finished lines on the page. And when I read the words, dinking with them here and there, playing around to find the perfect metaphor (and where do THOSE hide by the way?) when I read what is now the second poem in the book, I knew that it was exactly the right poem in exactly the right place and that if I looked closer, even I would be able to see how it set the stage for the crash that is just around the corner. Even I could see that it would lull the reader into thinking that things weren’t really bad as they were when they were really so much worse than they could imagine. Even I knew it was just what the book needed. Which certainly made cutting 8 other poems much easier.

I guess sometimes we just have to learn to trust not just ourselves or the process but the story. The answers are always in the story, if you look close enough.