Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Blues

78ยบ ~ started the day with storms/rain/clouds and now we have bright sun and huge humidity

A note, Dear Reader:  I am not writing this post because I want or need to be patted on the back and consoled.  I write this post because my goal in keeping this blog was to be real about what it means to be a poet these days.

These days, being a poet, for me, has been about trying to get the second book published.  For those who are frequent readers, you'll know that I spent about two years getting the book together, with some of the poems written years before that.  I've been quite active about publishing individual poem in reputable national journals, and nearly all of the poems have been accepted at that level.  I've created an active presence in the world of poetry and try to give back as much as I can.  This past fall, I did a complete overhaul of the book based on some great criticism from someone who knows the field intimately.  I have the manuscript out at book contests and open reading periods alike.   In other words, I've been following all of the advice I've ever been given about how to do this work.

Today, I got another rejection for the book.  For some reason, this one has knocked the wind out of me.  Of course I went through all of this with Blood Almanac.  Of course I know that it's a subjective business with tough competition.  And still I can't help wondering "What's wrong with me?"  I think about all of the examples of people who publish book 1 and book 2 back to back with almost no time in between, and I can't come up with one name of someone with ten or more years in between books, although I know they are out there.  I wonder what I am doing wrong and the perfectionist in me gets a bit out of control kicking herself.

Sigh.  Deep Breath.  Chocolate.

Even writing this post has helped me regain a bit of my balance, but hope has limped off into the corner for now.  I'll cox it out again, I'm sure, but I'm going to let it alone for a bit.

19 comments:

Michelle said...

Our May getaway is going to be good for both of us to heal our self-inflicted bruises. Hugs and love.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Michelle! Definitely looking forward to that weekend!!!!

Kathleen said...

1) Blue Monday is the poem-a-day prompt at my blog, and 2) I am glad you have chocolate.

mariegauthier said...

It's true, there are some poets who seem to have book after book published with barely any time between. And I think their seeming ubiquity is what makes their experiences seem the norm. But there are many poets whose books are spaced much wider apart. Off the top of my head: Andrea Cohen (10 years between first & second books); Greg Rappleye (5-7 years between books); Carol Frost (books appearing in '83, '86, '94, '00, '03, '06, & '10)... there are more.

Not that I think that'll be the case for you. The important thing is to find the right home. WIth the best kind of luck, the right place will also be the home of your future books as well. xo

Mari said...

Sandy, try not to let it get to you (easier said than done, I know). Your second book's time will come.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Kathleen, I saw your prompt right after I posted. Excellent coinkeedink.

Marie, thanks for all of the examples and the kind note.

Mari, from your lips to a publisher's ear! :)

Jeannine Hall Gailey said...

Six years for me. In that time I wrote three more book manuscripts. Just think of it as extra time to work on your third and fourth book :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Great advice, Jeannine.

Kristin said...

I feel your pain/frustration! I have often wondered if I'll ever have a book with a spine. Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to have chapbook publications, but there's that yearning for more . . .

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the sisterhood, Kristin.

Karen J. Weyant said...

Jeannine's advice is a good -- there could always be other projects, maybe even a chapbook while you are waiting? Afterall, you keep the rights...

Signed from the poets whose full length manuscript is hiding in her closet right now.

*Sigh*

SuziG said...

The example off the top of my head of a writer with 10 years between is fiction, but its Junot Diaz. And his second book won a Pulitzer! So keep your head up and know you have the most important part down-- good writing.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Karen & Suzi, more great support. Wonderful. Thanks.

Tawnysha Greene said...

I'm sorry, Sandy. I'm sure the right publisher will come along soon! Keep your chin up!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, T. My chin is up!

Molly said...

Can I add to the list of poets with several years between books? Marie Howe: 1988, 1999, 2009. I know it's probably cold comfort, and like Kathleen, I'm glad you have chocolate.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly. It all helps! I'm so lucky to have such a great support group.

Diane Lockward said...

Bridget Pegeen Kelly 10 years in between. The contests are crushing--so few of them, they take so few mss, and yet so many poets. My sense is that it's harder getting the second one taken than the first. I am so grateful to have a publisher who takes subsequent books by his authors.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Diane! It all helps.