Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcoming the Winter Solstice and a Return to Light

60º ~ yep, 60º on the Winter Solstice, still the sky is nothing but clouds, clouds that prevented any view of the lunar eclipse last night ~ Booooooo to the clouds

With the cloud cover a sure thing, there was no need to set the alarm for a 2 a.m. viewing of the eclipse.  Because we couldn't view it here, I give you this picture from Matthew Hinton at the Times Picayune in NOLA.  (Click on the image for the full story.)

Also, here's a diagram of how a full lunar eclipse happens.  I'm glad to say that my high school science facts are still intact and I had figured it all out in my head before looking up the image.  Granted, I'd forgotten the words 'umbra' and 'penumbra' but wow! what cool words.

The eclipse is amazing of course, and this one a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence on the winter solstice, but I'm really celebrating the solstice as it means an end to shortening days and a beginning of lengthening ones.  As I've said before, I am a creature of light, easily brought low by too many cloudy/rainy/dim days.  This is perhaps one reason I could not remain in the Midwest, which seems to have drearier winter skies than the South.  So, I'm cheering today that with the return of more light there will also be a return of energy and wakefulness in body and mind.

Now, back to poetry.  This blog turned three with little notice on my part, back at the end of November, I think.  Given that milestone and the fact that this is the time of year when people tend to reflect, here's my two cents worth.

I had an even 20 poems accepted in 2010.  Woo Hoo, that averages out to more than one per month, although some were accepted in groups.  Many thanks to those of you who read the poems in drafts, to those of you who edit the journals that accepted the poems, and to those of you who read and support my work.  Because balance is a necessity in my life and because I hope this blog will help emerging writers, I also want to stress that for every acceptance, there were at least, at least, five rejections.   This is a subjective game we play and often even the strongest poems don't make it through the goal posts for any number of reasons.  So, to keep the odds in my favor, I tend to have poems out to at least 20 different journals at any given time (not the same poems, of course!).

In a World Made of Such Weather as This continues to make the rounds of book contests and open reading periods.  It's been a semi-finalist about a half a dozen times and a finalist a few times.  As ever, I'm hopeful and despondent both at the same time.  Here I must give major, major thanks to a few named people:  Stephanie Kartalopoulos for her wonderful reading and suggestion for reordering of the book.  Angie Macri, Charlotte Pence, and Tara Bray for reading BOTH versions and making their suggestions.  THANK YOU!!!

As for books I've read and enjoyed this year, there were many.  I encourage anyone interested in the titles and my thoughts to use the search box above and enter 'What I'm Reading.'  It's wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented writers and to be able to return to their books whenever I need a bit of inspiration.

Last bit of thanks but certainly not the least:  for my mother and my husband, I am most grateful.  Their support is unconditional and unwavering.  I could not do what I do without their strong shoulders to lean on.

Looking to 2011, my resolutions are simple: to keep doing what I'm doing.

I want to write a draft a week.
I want to read a book a week and post a review of it.
I want to read as many journals as possible and contact each poet who moves me.
I want to submit my work to the journals I love.
I want to submit the book to publishers I love.

This is the work of a writer, and I am blessed to be able to do it.

So be it.


Nancy Devine said...

i look forward to your reviews here.
i agree with you about the work of a writer; i, too, am grateful for being able to do it.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for all of your support, Nancy. It's good to know you are out there doing the work alongside me.

drew said...

Sandy -
Congratulations on your fruitful year.

Regarding your goals for 2011: I love that you contact the authors of poems you read and like. I do the same! I think it's a lovely way to let the poet know their art is alive and working in the world.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Drew, I did this off and on over the last several months and want to do more of it in 2011. It also helps me slow down and pay attention! :)

Kristin said...

umbra and penumbra--they sound like pregnancy words to me! I have so many poem ideas bubbling away due to the confluence of the solstice, the eclipse, and the end of term/year assortment of duties/projects/grading/tasks.

Now to actually sit down and work them out into poems!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Kristin, yes lots of images to play with there. Good luck on the poems!