Here's one about me being lazy about submitting. Hmm, things haven't changed much there.
Anyway, again, my feelings about publishing/success/following your passions have pretty much stayed the same.
I've been thinking about poetry submissions.
I've become very lazy about submitting and it annoys me because I do love to get mail, *even* rejections. Yes, I admit it. I just like opening the mailbox and seeing something other than bills, bills, bills, UW Alumni letters requesting money, Victoria's Secret catalogs, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie catalogs.
To me the rejection signifies possibility, the "I could have been a winner" mentality that I buy into. Our state lotto has the motto, "You can't win if you don't play" and Wayne Gretsky was quoted as saying, "You miss 100% of the shots you never take." I think about that with poetry sometimes, how random acts or events end up bringing us some of our greatest successes.
I once ran to the mailbox to retrieve a poem I was sending out because I started to doubt myself, started to doubt the quality of the poem. When I got to the mailbox, I was so disappointed to learn the mail carrier had already taken my submission...you know where this is going--that was the poem that was accepted, that was the poem that was chosen over 3000 other poems for the Seattle Poetry on the Busses project. I was ready to send something else, and probably something that *wouldn't* have been chosen.
As poets, we don't know what's going to connect with others, so we just submit and see what happens. To me, it's just part of the job as a poet.
I don't determine my own self worth over acceptances or what journals publish me. I will write if a thousand journals publish my poems and I will write if a thousand journals don't.
But I do like to be published because as someone said earlier, it does add to that feeling of being part of the poetry community and since I don't really understand my urge to write, I do hope there is some sort of greater meaning to it all.
I've always believed that the passions that rule our hearts and minds are what we should follow, even if they seem ridiculous.
There isn't a handbook to poetry or life, but I think much of what we need to do or know is inside us and we need to tune into that instinct and follow that.
December 27, 2005