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On a Rejection Role!

I am proud of my writing work ethic lately, and a bit bemused to discover that even though I have been devoting four to six hours each day to writing, editing and reading, my house is still clean and my family has not starved. I have just been “Keeping it simple, stupid.” Instead of homemade tomato basil soup, last night we had grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can with a red label. Secretly I believe my son actually likes soup from a can better!

This morning I organized several poems into a manuscript sample and constructed a book proposal which I just zapped to a publisher via the world wide web. These poems are litanies intended for use in corporate worship. I am encouraged to find several major publishers who are currently accepting book proposals in the category of ministry resources.

Keeping my fingers crossed and my heart open. Perhaps poetry, like everything else, is a game of percentages. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take.

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Clarity

I have experienced a great deal of clarity in my life since the New Year as far as my writing life is concerned. I have begun to simplify my life, my to-do lists, my clothing choices, every aspect of my life that drains energy and focus from my writing. Clean. Simple. Single-mindedness. These are descriptors I am meditating on as I go through my day. It sounds so simple but it has taken me a lifetime to realize that if I continue to attempt to define myself as good at so many other things (cooking, friendship, fitness, board games, church, hand-made cards, scrapbooking, decorating…you get the drift), I am NEVER going to publish that book of poems! Notice I didn’t mention marriage in that list, and that is because I am blessed with a very low-maintenance guy, and because when I am happy…he’s happy. Writing is what makes me happy.

I entered ten poems in the Iowa Review contest today, and finished up applications to low residency MFA programs.

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White Space

I am struck this morning that white space defines the poem. The two writers whose caverns of blankness assert themselves most to me as a reader are Emily Dickinson and Willa Cather. I am also convinced that what I do with lack in my life ultimately defines me, and by lack I don’t mean the deliberate doing without self-imposed by so many evangelicals in my midst. After all, we never starve ourselves to the point of true hunger. This is not Christ’s intention for those He died for–the puffed-up, empty belly. This is not the denying of self that Scriptures portray, this is putting ourselves front and center in the white space. Salvation is truly an end to all doing for It is finished. It’s been done.

Dickinson’s poetry assumes nothing yet feels so complete, but upon closer reading her words, while they rigidly adhere to her “rules,” bleed and run off the page, and yet one feels as though they have consumed her text in a satisfying way, only to find that the stomach still growls for more. What’s in the space this giant doesn’t inhabit? This is what keeps me coming back daily to her poetry.

In life, the emptiness that comes to us when we stop pursuing it is the true lack in the Emily-sense.

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The Six People

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2012/07/17/the-6-people-you-need-in-your-corner/

 

For the most part, the writer’s life is not a lonely one, but an “alone” one. We must have solitude–and lots of it–in order to do our jobs. I find that in my closest relationships, I fulfill one of the six people and sometimes multiples of the six people described in this article for my spouse, my sister, my children, my friends. In turn, when it comes to my personal life, my family and friends provide these for me, but I don’t have these six people coming alongside me in My Writing Life. This year I must do something about that. Whether it is getting back into an MFA program or finding writers’ groups to get feedback from or online relationships with more editors and writers or possibly all of the above, carving out my Writing Community and my place in it is essential to my survival as a freelancer. I might need a housekeeper too! First and foremost, I must find a way to feed my soul. I believe that God doesn’t give me a hunger that He doesn’t provide a means to fill, so where there is a will there is a way, especially when it is God’s will. Even in small town America there is art and inspiration to be found, and there are always plane tickets and day trips to larger cities. I have already inquired about getting involved in my local writers group. I plan to attend next month. What about you? What do you do as a writer to feed your soul?

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Routines

I was notified yesterday that five of my poems will be published at www.burnsidewriters.com over the next six months. This gives me incentive to continue sending out my poems. I have a strong preference for online submission, but I live in a small town, so the post office isn’t that far away if I have to break down and mail something. How do you make those stamps stick again?

I am focused on process this morning. Really, I am preoccupied with process while I mumble a good morning to my son and hand him his bowl of mini wheats. Thankfully, his morning routine is watching ESPN. Yes, We are morning people!

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Submission

Submission. I am not fond of this word as it applies to marriage, church, authority or My Writing Life. This is the year, 2013, that I work diligently on submission.

I just spent the better part of my morning learning an electronic submission process known as “Hey Publisher,” and three hours into the process of putting my poems on deck for their “beaming up”, I realized that it takes me as long to submit my work as it does to write it in the first place! Not really…but the time drags in comparison to the time spent creating works of poetry or nonfiction.

This blog will serve as my documentation and therapy-of-sorts for all the rejection I am setting myself up for and calling it a job.

I am, for better or for worse, putting myself out there. If you would like to follow along with me…follow this blog. Here I  will briefly mourn the misunderstood (not poorly written…that can’t be it!) works which no one but me gets, and hopefully here I will celebrate when one of my creations makes it to a printed page somewhere in the obscure journals of lyric.

I will try to be brief, inspirational, and writer-esque. Most of all, I will try to be me.