Last week I wrote two poems. I mananaged, with each of them, to cut to the raw of some truth, and I knew it when I did it. Now, when I reread them, I still feel it.
Since then, I have written two more, and although I worked harder on them, they don't have the same quality of pointed honesty that the others do. I think. I need to sit on them little--then we'll see.
That's how it happens with me: write it out, cut away the dross, take down the on-ramp (often my first stanza just turn out to be something to get me going), don't skimp on the end. Now, what's there? Is it honest?
I can't describe this sense of truth I strive for in my poetry. I just know it when I get it, and it doesn't happen every time. It's not entirely, but it is partially, emotional, psychological, physical, logical, and the result of experience.
Do you know when you get something right in your art, whether writing, sculpting, painting, etc.? How do you know it? How does truth hit you?