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not unlike a pair of scissors
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I am a touch cranky at the moment: my hips, my allergies, and my lungs are all acting up. A sensible person would call it a night already, but my hamster-wheel-brain really wants me to finish a spreadsheet and pull together a poem submission.

A quote from marymary's entry for today caught my eye: "Publishing is interesting, its own different thrill, but it is not the cow for my butter and I am better served by thinking about writing." I'm keen on finishing this new set of poems in part because it'll be more one packet in circulation, and the more I have out there, the less I'm tempted to simmer about the stuff in accepted-but-not-published/produced limbo, which currently includes:

  • One poem for Blowing Kisses. Submitted July 2003; accepted by the anthology editor October 2003. Last I heard, publication had been postponed to July 2006. I've been paid for the poem already, which is both unusual and nice, but darn it, it's a fun poem (had it vetted by a physicist, even) and I'd like to see it in print one of these years.

  • One poem accepted 11/2004 by a New Jersery journal. Just sent a second query to the editors asking what's up...

  • One set of three short poems accepted in 2005 for an anthology to benefit New Orleans. I saw the proof a year ago (when I collected some printers' quotes in hopes of helping out), but as far as I know, it'll remain indefinitely tabled until the editor's circumstances becomes a shade more settled. The poems were previously published in Illya's Honey, so they're at least in print, but I'm eager to see the anthology become available, both because of the kickass TOC and the sad fact that, no matter when it's finally produced, NOLA agencies are still going to need the help. :-/

  • Three poems provisionally accepted (in 2004 and 2005) for a pair of June Cotner anthologies. She's still collecting material for them. I've sold other work to her before, so I'm not near as twitchy about the long gestation time as I would be with an editor unknown to me. (I should probably do some more research on inspirational markets, the better to route the pieces that don't fit June's plans.)

  • One poem accepted 8/2006 (submitted 6/2006) for The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel, Second Floor (I love, love, love this cover!). On its way to being released by December 3.
  • Reb's published my work before (both at No Tell Motel and in the first Bedside Guide) and is another editor I trust.

  • Accepted this year: Two stories for a fandom project; two poems for a limited edition chapbook, and one poem to be reprinted in a "best of" collection.

  • I list dates here not to shame anyone (*polishes glass walls*), but to give those of you not in the biz (or who are new to it) an idea of the kind of waiting some of these projects entail (and why listing "forthcoming" items in my bibliography would feel too much like counting unhatched poultry).

    In my "pending submissions" log, there are currently 35 pieces in circulation. The oldest submission is dated 8/7/2007; I'm guessing there will be at least 1-5 poems that end up in no-response limbo for a year or two (I hate sending queries, so it usually takes me that long to get around to giving up on a market).

    There are easily more than 35 poems and stories stashed in various folders to be reworked and resubmitted, but there's also a heap of new shinies to which I'm itching to give shape and voice. And all of it's on spec, which means it usually takes a back seat to the stuff that pays the mortgage -- except when manic insomnia takes the reins and goes galloping. (Like tonight.)

    What this adds up to, at least for me: publication's very nice indeed -- at times, it's the carrot that gets me to focus, and sometimes it's the spur that prods me to run harder and faster -- but it involves so many factors not within my control that I wouldn't find it worth the tsuris if it was the be-all and end-all of why I write poems and stories. As it happens, though, writing is essentially a variation of breathing where I'm concerned: I'm not physically capable of holding it in or doing without it beyond a minimal stretch. (I exaggerate, of course: should I someday lose function in my eyes or hands, I'll adapt. All the same, it's second nature for me either to be writing something, or to be thinking about how I'm going to write that something (be it for a letter, a verse, a presentation -- or a blog entry like this one), or for my mind to fixate on refining a something I've already written, no matter how trivial (ditto).)

    Which is a long way of restating the subtitle to Jon Hansen's blog: "You must be prepared always to work without applause." Or, to paraphrase another quote I can't currently track down, when I catch myself fretting about pending submissions/acceptances, it's a sign that I don't have enough out to editors at the moment.

    I'm not claiming this is true for everyone -- and sometimes neediness and impatience trump rationality no matter how sensibly I try to behave. That said, it's a framing of the situation that meshes with my modus scribendi: there's little I can do about when or whether a piece will click with its audience, but each time I make something new, I improve the odds that something I've made will matter to someone else.

    A while back, I picked up a stack of old Oprah magazines. They're good bath reading, and this morning I came across a Dr. Phil excerpt (February 2005) that amused the BYM when I repeated it to him:

    I once asked a woman who was married more than 50 years what her secret was. She answered, "My husband and I never fell out of love at the same time. There were times when I wasn't feeling it, and he carried us through, and vice versa. But now we're happier than the day we met."

    We celebrated our anniversary with brunch at Marche (nowadays a rare treat -- the place has become so popular that we don't even try to get in after church). I had crepes with corned beef and potato filling with a red pepper sauce (that probably sounds strange, but the whole combination was perfect, an Orangina, and a latte (also perfect). The BYM had steak and eggs...

    The BYM: ... and I think I now have a cavity, thanks to the card you gave me.
    Me: One soppy card in thirteen years. You'll survive.


    Today's subject line is derived from the Rev. Sydney Smith: "Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated, often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes in between them."

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