I'm preparing a last batch of essays and poems to send out for the mad fall rush, then I focus. I hope. On a third book manuscript. The other two are floating out there in the world, pissing me off, making me cry.
Today I got yet another encouraging rejection on my writing, and lately it's been the creative nonfiction. Left and right, but few takers. This is really, really, getting tiresome. I am competitive, I am envious, I am jealous. I am confused, I am saddened, I am disnechanted. And if I wasn't, I don't think I'd be a writer or any damned use to any potential reader. That's not much comfort, though.
So I feel like I need to quickly reflect, purge my system of these other two manuscripts--though I know that if taken (no, it's when, right??) I will likely invest much time in them again.
Afterimage: Poems -- Frankly, I could care less who takes this book any more. Sound crass? I used to think it mattered who published your work. Well, it does, but you know what... I don't think it matters nearly as much for poetry as prose. The audience for poetry is far less, and I think the poetry book is more a statment for the c.v. that says something like "Yes, I'm competent, see? I can write poems, know what I'm talking about, and can focus and train myself enough to actually produce a book. Yeah, I'm a writer."
Morning Glory: A Story of Family and Culture in the Garden -- This thing is seven months young--vs. the poetry which has been shopped around for five years--so I am much more concerned about where it ends up (it is a hybrid memoir that is maybe proving a bit tricky to market, partly because of the hybridity, partly because I'm still learning how to write queries and proposals). I think first books often don't mean as much to one's opus as later books and where they come from, but first books are like first dates. Memorable first dates. Or just really nice handshakes--you know the ones, because most people don't shake hands very well at all.
So I'll soon be off to Oklahoma and Kansas to undertake something incredibly massive--a memoir of sorts (and maybe a side collection of poems), but that's all you're getting. I've no idea where it will lead me, what narative will unfold to bring order and focus to further research and--eventually--the writing. After a slew of rejections recently in the midst of sending out work (it's like eating Haagen Daz as you run to the toilet) I think that, ultimately, the only thing that can possibly satiate my impatience and dismay and doubt is to focus on writing again. Like never before. Because I ain't half bad at it. I think. Maybe. What do you think? Oh man, validate me, please.