Dear Reader, I hope you'll indulge me as I continue Monday's conversation about my doubt in 'earning' my recent acceptances. A few additional thoughts occurred to me yesterday after I processed the comments.
~ I never made clear my question about gender. Here it is: do men worry about what others might say when a friend or associate publishes their work? In other words, are men more natural at establishing professional networks and relying on them without second guessing their own value?
~ After Kathleen chimed in, it dawned on me that I hadn't even considered the situation from her point of view or that my doubt was an insult to her. (I'm so sorry, Kathleen.) As she rightly points out, I had succumbed to the doubt monster. She also points out that part of the reason we even know each other is from reading each others' work and then forming a connection. So why would I doubt? Again, many apologies! I'm so thankful to you has a poetry friend and as an editor who has given my work a home.
~ I'm thankful to Kristin for following up with a longer post about this, and I'm so happy to be a member of her virtual Lake District.
~ Finally, something clicked Tuesday morning in the shower and I commented briefly about it in Monday's post. Several years ago now Foetry.com (now defunct) made a huge attempt to uncover biases in poetry contests, and for the most part I appreciated their efforts. I even cheered them on when they uncovered the most blatant examples of cronyism. No, I don't think that someone should get a book deal and an award check b/c of who they know, and I don't think a judge can be unbiased about someone with whom they've worked closely. So, I champion the efforts of presses to limit that bias.
The other part of the 'click' was remembering a panel I attended at a past AWP. Can't remember which year, but as the moderator did the introductions, it became clear that all of the people on the panel were editors of journals and almost all of them had published each other. The moderator said: "I guess it's true that editors only publish other editors. Ha ha." Dead silence from the audience. The moderator waited a beat and I felt a shift in the room, then she said, "a joke, people, a joke." Her attempt at humor was, obviously, not well received, because it pointed out something many beginning writers believe: it's not what you know (or write), it's who you know. (Of course, beneath that glaring assumption would be the fact that the panel was about being a poet from a particular region and so it shouldn't be that unusual that the speakers had appeared in those regional journals.)
~ Now, to my conclusions. Isn't doing the work of writing and submitting a form of networking all on its own. I've worked my ass off for 10 years to establish a reputation as a poet worth an editor's time. I've striven to remain professional on all levels. I have few connections with the major players in the game. So, now that all of that work is paying off, I should embrace the success, pat myself on the shoulder, and shout out in jubilee. And that is what I shall hope for when the next acceptance comes from a friend or acquaintance in the poetry world, and it is a small world, so I'm sure it will happen again. (Or at least I hope it will!)