Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Confession Tuesday

My Red Shoes, 2009

Dear Reader, it's been one day since I've last confessed. Yes, after yesterday's post, I'm not sure if I have anything more.

But I'll try, it's Tuesday, Confession Tuesday, so let's go

to the confessional--

I confess that yesterday's post was rather hard to write. And when I say rather I mean really.

It was very humbling to go back over the years to see where this manuscript came from and mistakes I made along the way.

In certain ways, I feel like trying to get my book published is my ego on overload (Everyone, you must read my work! I is sooooooooooo important!) and seeing how much effort I put into my work over the years tells me I must be persistent or an big arse (or maybe a little of both).

If I try to look at it positively, I would say that I saw all the scraps of fabric in many ways before I made the dress. And even though I may have sewed on a few extra pockets, in the end, the dress was complete.

If I look at it negatively, I would say make sure you have the outfit before you purchase 76 pairs of shoes to go with it first.

Of course, in the end, one of those pairs of shoes fit. But I could have probably purchased less shoes if I hadn't been so excited about the dance.

And well, we're not talking shoes or dancing here, but it seems easier to talk about that way. And I wanted you to know the whole story because sometimes I think things seem easier when you look at someone's life.

But all of it, life, poetry, it's not easy. It's a lot of work.

And when people tell you how they submitted to only 1 contest or press and were accepted, don't think they wrote the manuscript overnight and believe it was easy for them-- just realize, they were smart enough to have finished the dress before they began looking for the shoes. And when I say shoes, I mean publisher.

And if it were easy, then it wouldn't be worth it.



  1. Kelli, I'm so glad you shared this. I think so many young poets read the P&W interviews where the poet says "Well, a publisher walked into my reading and offered to publish my book" or "I got really lucky and the first press I sent my book to took it." Then they think, when they submit for years and years, that they must be failures. They wonder why their stories are so different from the ones in P&W. I think the reality is, unless you're a very connected person, it does take years, patience, lots of submissions and writing checks. I think poets should know that going in.
    I rememember this guy, who at the time directed an MFA program, saying it took him seven years and over a hundred subs to get his book taken - and it was taken by a pretty good press in the end. Sometimes it's not even about making the dress perfectly - it's about finding the right fit.

  2. I'm thrilled you shared your story. I think it's important to share the journey. In the process of submitting, your manuscript evolved into what it is today. That would not have happened unless you had followed it through.


  3. Belated but huge congratulations! Carl Dennis was a teacher of mine and I can vouch for the fact that he's an extremely perceptive reader and also a tough critic, and it means a lot that he chose your book!

  4. It's so interesting, because when I read your post about the history of your MS, I didn't get any of the sadness or mixed feelings you express here--I just got how much hard work and determination went into getting your book published. And I don't think trying to get published is an ego on overload at all. I think it's just a sincere acknowledgment of the fact that you do have things to say to the world, and you want those things heard. No ego in there, just a desire to share yourself and be understood.

  5. Thanks everyone!

    I'm feeling better, it's just seeing the numbers was a little humbling! And a little emotional for many reasons, the happiness of being finished and the realization of how long the trip was.

    But I'm happy to share with you.

    Thank you all for the good words and congrats! It made it all feel much better.

  6. the numbers can be daunting! when i looked back and sending chapbooks out i cringed!

    but i always think, at least i am supporting small presses :)


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