83º ~ what's this? not 95º by noon? storm clouds here and there, a good wind knocking down the trash cans, maybe, maybe a bit of rain to come
It's been a tough couple of days, Dear Reader. We have a really sick kitty and are waiting to hear back from the vet with a diagnosis. We do not handle this kind of waiting well here at the house of the Kangaroo. C. and I are both soft-hearted to the point of weakness.
Alas, the robin's nest is empty. One fledgling has been spotted learning to fly in the back yard, hopping around after whichever adult is still tending it. It's a mad squawker.
Well, now that I've violated my poetry-only rule not once but twice, let's get down to it. My hours at the desk have been spent in two ways this morning.
1. I read through and made initial notes on a set of poems from a good friend. We exchanged drafts yesterday. Ah, the luxury of summer, to have the time to recreate the camaraderie and support of a workshop without all the BS. Reading this person's work always makes me want to write, and that's a wonderful bonus!
2. I prepared a query to send to a publisher for In a World Made of Such Weather as This.
About three tasks down, I came to the folder for this particular press and a new set of submission guidelines that I'd printed out, which included detailed instructions about what the editors wanted to see in the query: a letter explaining the book, a current CV, and a writing sample. I must admit that when I began the task, I thought it would be a snap. I suppose I thought this because submitting to contests is so easy: manuscript, check, SASE, done.
Two hours later, I saw the error of my supposition. How to summarize this book in one paragraph in a query letter. I know, I know, this is one of the top five things you are supposed to do when you think the book is ready to be published. I've read this on countless blogs and sites: write a one-paragraph narrative about the book's subject and themes. But it is so much simpler to just print the manuscript out and shove it in an envelope!
Now, I'm so glad that I did this. It really helped me clarify my own thinking about the book, and when I was selecting the sample pages to include with the letter, I kept checking them against the paragraph. I opened the complete file of the book and then scrolled through each poem, highlighting the ones I thought would make a good sample. As I did this, I asked: Is my description honest and accurate? Do I really understand my own motivation for ordering the book the way I did? Do these poems matter? Do they offer music, image, and wisdom? Is reading this book worth the precious time out of someone's life?
While I received yet another no-go yesterday, the process today was a huge confidence builder. It helped me reconnect with the book and the poems. It gave me a little bit of faith in the long process at work here. So be it.