Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Game of Numbers

47º ~ bleak skies, cold wind, everything gray and sodden

Dear Reader, I do not understand how time speeds up so much when I'm excited about my life and the things I'm doing.  This post is about six hours later than normal for happy reasons, but still, I'm wishing I had one of those wizarding gizmos that Hermione uses in Harry Potter so that she can be in two places at once.  A colleague tells me it is the "Time Turner."  Yeah, get me one those, STAT!

So, the game of numbers.

Yesterday, I had two more happy emails from the acceptance fairy.  This time I heard from Diane Lockward, who is guest editing the inaugural issue of Adanna.  She accepted two poems, one from the middle of last year and one newer.  Then, not more than an hour later, I had an email from Elizabeth Guest, a member of the staff of roger, an art & literary magazine, and they wanted to take two older poems.

I spent some of my poetry time this morning taking care of the business of those happy emails.  As many of you know, Dear Readers, I like to simultaneously submit poems.  That means detailed records.  I have to update my spreadsheet and then notify any journals considering the accepted poem that it is no longer available.  I am militant about this because I appreciate those journals that do accept simultaneous submission, and I would never want to fail to notify and then have to tell them a poem that they want isn't available.  I hope that makes sense.  

So, that's three acceptances in two days, with each journal taking two poems.  The magic number here is, apparently, six.  I'm thrilled of course, but this only makes me more desperate to write as I begin to run out of poems to send out.  And as January points out in a recent post, it seems the busier we are the more we want that writing time.  Sadly, January has also been visited by the rejection fairy recently. And she isn't the only poet friend to be going through the doldrums.  So, I'm performing all manner of spells to send the rejection fairy packing for everyone!

This all reminds me that several months ago, I was sad and pitiful because a bunch of poet friends were hearing good news and I wasn't.  Oh, November and December, you cruel months!  I am hoping that I will remember that these things come in waves and we aren't all on the same schedule.  "This too shall pass" isn't so often quoted because it is wrong!  I just need to remember that it applies to the good times as well as the bad.

More on the numbers:
One of the poems accepted was pretty darned new, begun in the first week of January.  One of the poems was pretty darned old, begun in the beginning of 2010.  That new poem had only gone out to the one journal, mostly because I'm so backlogged here at the desk of the Kangaroo that while I'd intended to simultaneously submit it, I only had time to send it out once.  The older poem had been around the block more than a few times.  Even after a serious overhaul in the revision garage, it suffered from the wallflower syndrome.  The fact is that there is no formula for figuring this submission magic out.  Sometimes the poems go out and stick right away; sometimes they come home and go out and come home and go out, until I despair, until finally someone sees in the poem what I see, or until I shelve the thing out of the direct sunlight.

In thinking about the numbers, I was also wondering what the current status is for poems in my currently-circulating manuscript: In a World Made of Such Weather as This.  As many of you know, I'm really happy with the state of this manuscript, and I'm really sad that it hasn't found a home yet.  Still, there is hope.  In any case, I counted things up this morning.  Of the 50 poems that make up the book, 45 have appeared or are forthcoming in national journals, both online and in print.  Incidentally, the oldest poem in the book was written at the end of 2005, just as Blood Almanac was in production.  It's harder to pinpoint the youngest poem in the book, but I think it was probably written in May of 2010.  (By written I mean, the first draft on the computer.)

Does any of this counting matter?  Probably not.  However, for some reason, it comforts me.

I'll leave you with one more thing that comforts me.  A live webcam of a pair of nesting eagles in Decorah, IA.  These birds are completely wild, meaning they've never been banded or interacted with humans in any way.  There are three eggs under there, and the eaglets are expected anytime between 3/31/11 and 4/4/11.


Anonymous said...

Did I say hot? I meant Hot! Hot! Hot! ::little foot kick here:: Congratulations!

Sandy Longhorn said...

It's sizzlin around here, Marie! (But I know I need to hoard the warmth for the bitter chill of rejection to follow.) Thanks for the support!

Kathleen said...

Yay! Glad your poems are sticking!

Tawnysha Greene said...

How wonderful! Congrats!!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Tawnysha!

Nancy Devine said...

congrats on the poems. you're inspiring me to send out some work.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, yeah, Nancy! Go get 'em.

Liz said...

Congratulations on the acceptances! That's fantastic. I found your blog because we have "After the Ark" in common, among other things. :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Welcome to the Kangaroo, Liz! Glad to have you here.