Sunday, July 27, 2008
Then the contact person sent a polite and apologetic email saying the group was following the leads I had suggested to them previously, had learned what they felt they needed to know, and frankly some of them had been uncomfortable with the idea of paying me -- someone they knew -- and therefore had decided not to meet with me after all.
It hurt. Clearly, the money was the sticking point. I feel embarrassed having asked for it. I think the writers' perceptions of me have changed. But I wouldn't be following my own advice if I had bartered a Sunday afternoon, a 40-mile round trip, and hard-won expertise for "Thank you, you're very generous" and "Isn't she a nice girl." I want to say, "I AM a nice girl. But I'm 51 and if you've noticed that I'm on the skinny side these days, it's not because I'm dieting."
As small as this incident is, as small as I feel, this was a victory in the battle for writers to get paid.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Without the Net, Ms. Dyer would never have read the poem. Without poemhunter.com it wouldn't have been posted. With poemhunter.com the author was easily traceable so that permission could be requested and granted.
Put a few of your own favorite poems on poemhunter.com, preferably if they've already been published and rights have reverted to you. If unpublished, they count as published when you post them, so think twice. It's a good place to post poems YOU love that no editor seems to like. Yes, a lot of stuff on poemhunter.com is dross, but certainly not yours, and you open up a chance for good things to happen. Even a small good thing. Every little bit builds confidence.
Monday, July 21, 2008
So in the past 6 months I've become a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild, the St. Louis Poetry Center, the St. Louis Publishers Association, the Loosely Identified women's poetry group, and the Missouri Writers Guild.
Fortunately all the above groups are vibrant, active, well-established (90+ years for the St. Louis Writers' Guild; 25+ years for Loosely Identified) and run a tight ship, so I'm getting suggestions for my work, making friends, seeing awesome work in progress, getting invitations to parties and to submit manuscripts -- I had 3 poems taken that way -- easy! -- Also, tipoffs about hot writer websites (see the links at left) and good blogs, forums, seminars, and chances to do more and do it better. My whole mood has changed. And because of that, I've tried other positive things. How glad I am that I got into the car and joined the living!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
- Get to know everyone.
- Attend every literary event that you can.
- Keep a journal.
- When you’re suffering, telephone (don’t E-mail) a fellow student.
- Your mistakes are okay.
- Understand that some of your fellow students applied to the MFA program and didn’t get in, so they are getting a regular M.A., and boy are they jealous of you.
- If you teach freshman composition, know that some of your students cannot be saved.
- Sleep on it before submitting it to workshop.
- Love affairs that start in the first weeks of grad school will end badly.
- Get a bicycle.
- Make yourself go to your writing professor’s office during office hours, just to chat.
- If you need money, get a part-time job no matter what your contract with the college says.
- Don't bug famous writers to help you, because they won't.
- It's not an illusion: Male and female writers are not treated the same.
- You'll get discouraged sometimes, but don’t let anybody stop you.
Friday, July 11, 2008
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.And I sent my 6 best poems and felt the rightness of it, the healthiness of having set them free, trusting that I will write even better ones. Thank you, Annie.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
"You're so arrogant, thinking you can publish a book as-is and get a smidgen of glory. Get real. Remember you are a servant. You serve the publisher and readership. The publisher suggested you compile full bibliographies of all 11 authors. In certain cases, such as Gerald Early's or Don Finkel's, this would take years and you'd come out, as in grad school, with a face like a sneaker sole. But you should do it as a service. Learn to think not like an author, but like a servant."
To this I said (to myself): "That violates my boundary. I think it does. Yes. It does. I perform a service. But I am not a servant.