Just to catch you up, at some point during my long blog absences this fall, I signed a contract to publish my second book of poems! It will be out in September. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while know that I’ve been working on this book all along, and I’ve been sending it out in its current form for about two years, with a few encouraging near-successes and far more generic rejections.
Now we can move on to my telling you about working on the third book (which has been underway since 2013) and, eventually, I hope, into the attempts to get that one into print.
Oh, Sunday night. This isn’t an especially angsty one, but it’s still not my favorite time. Nice, though, to reflect that it’s been a good weekend, with some fun, some down time, and some good work.
I mentioned that I brought my second book manuscript to the writers’ group earlier this month and got a very helpful response. I have managed to carve out some time to revise–again: I completed a draft in 2011, and at various times I’ve thought I was finished; I sent it out many times in 2013, and just a few times in 2014, feeling that something needed my attention. Now I have the feeling that this thing really is done. At least I’m ready to get serious about sending it out again. This weekend I picked four of the upcoming book contest deadlines and submitted it. I also did some planning for upcoming contests and open reading periods.
This week, I’m going to get two batches of unpublished poems back out there. Not every unpublished poem in the book works on its own, but there are some that should have magazine publication before the book comes out. And this should be the year that the book gets taken!
And then I’m going to find some time–maybe next weekend–to look at the handful of finished poems and sheaves of drafts I have for the next book.
Usually fairly slow to pick up linguistic innovations, I have started saying “I know, right?” and I cannot stop. I really like it, even as I am painfully aware that many people experience it as a stale little mannerism. The fourth commenter down on that post, “amanda,” puts her finger on what I enjoy about it–its tone of amusement at a trivial but true observation. The tone is so fixed and reliable that carries over nicely to the abbreviation IKR, much as the tone of OMG does. I would like not to hear it coming out of my mouth quite so much, but I can’t lie about my fondness for it.
A few other things, too. My friend MW sometimes says “True confession:” (yes, the colon is part of the expression, except when it’s “True confession?”). So, true confession: I didn’t go to any panels at AWP except for the one I spoke on, and I didn’t go to any readings except for the one by Carol Ann Duffy and Philip Levine.
Big excitement: after one year of sending out work from the new book, I finally got a magazine acceptance. And it’s one I’m really happy about, for a magazine with a circulation in the tens of thousands, where I’ve read a lot of work I’ve admired.
I know, right?
An up-and-down day so far. Back in the classroom for two hours, leading the seniors through some college essay brainstorming, exercises and discussions. Nice to reconnect with kids I’ve taught or worked with before and to get to know a few I haven’t, and to see a couple of my colleagues (I somehow missed Romola, though). I left feeling quite chirpy about being back in the SA classroom (albeit teaching a “class” that will only meet three times and in which no one is graded, though there will be a lot of responding to writing). I met up with my mom and the Snork Maiden, who had been doing some clothes shopping together, and we had lunch out.
Then I got two emails on my phone: a ding on another literary-magazine submission (this makes seven so far, sigh) and an email about something at NLNRU I’d thought I handled yesterday not being quite so handled after all. I got kind of sulky about the rejected submission before shifting gears into thinking about what else to send this magazine (because they did ask for more work) and where else I can send the stuff they rejected.
So I’ve landed somewhere in the middle, where I’m still grateful I am in work and don’t have to consider wearing my resume on a t-shirt.
One of my past NLNRU students (but not one of my thesis advisees) has a book coming out soon. It’s getting a decent amount of attention so far, but I have a very mixed reaction to it. I think it’s going to do well for what I regard as the wrong reasons, and while I realize that makes me sound like I need to take the stick out, I think if you’re going to be totally uptight and defensive about something, it might as well be something about which you care a lot. As the blog title says, literature should mean something in your life. I wish this book were a contribution to literature. It’s not.
Something about which I don’t care that much, really, is the decision of the style guide of the publications of the University of Oxford to abandon the Oxford comma. Makes a catchy headline, though.
I got a lot done today: writing, the last part of that BAC project, manuscript submission, many emails. I also sprawled around and read for a while, in bliss. This evening and tomorrow, however, I have a 300-page manuscript to read for someone who is my thesis advisee. I think this one will get published, too, and I will be happy about that. First, though, I have to read it. I’ve read the first 225 pages in installments, but now that the manuscript is complete, I think I really need to start again from the beginning. (It’s not literally in a box. It’s clipped with the three largest binder clips I could find. I didn’t have any rubber bands.)
So as I mentioned, the submissions game has changed somewhat since the last time I was submitting regularly. I submitted one piece to a large-circulation national magazine via their online submissions system and got it back Friday, a scant twelve days later–which is really just long enough to let me feel that someone actually read it and passed on it. (Whether this is true, or who read it, I’ve no idea. Perhaps some vague intern. But that idea doesn’t bother me particularly; if a vague intern isn’t seized by the work, then most of the magazine’s readership won’t be, either.)
So I turned around and sent it to another large-circulation national magazine. Via their online submissions system, of course.