Monday, October 3, 2011

Fingernails

47ยบ ~ rumor of frost in the northern counties of the state, low 80s for the projected highs all week, delirious fall weather

Today's title references 'hanging on by one's' rather that some statement about fashion and polish.  It also references an emotional state of hanging on rather than one of being overwhelmed by physical tasks.  We just don't know what is going to happen with Lou-Lou's health and that is difficult to say the least.  All of this emotion for a cat, and I struggle to imagine the magnitude of emotion for a close friend or family member suffering serious health issues.  Yes, I have been so lucky in my 40 years on this planet, but I see that the suffering will arrive at some point or other.  This is what my cat has to teach me.

The opposite of what I mean!

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In the meantime, I did get some submissions out the door yesterday, although I did not follow my wonderful, orderly process, as detailed here.  Instead, I haphazardly sent out to several places that have special calls for which my poems my be a fit.  I also chose to send two groups of poems to non-simultaneous submission journals (well, one asks that the write wait six weeks before sending on to other mags).  It's odd, that normally I feel constrained by the non-simul. sub. journals, but yesterday it helped me feel like I was making some small progress in the face of chaos.

Rest assured, I have not abandoned my process method or simultaneous subs (as I still believe in them the most).  I have a stack of poems waiting to be sorted and my spreadsheet printed and ready to go.

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Finally, I have tried to skim the blogs and keep up as best I can, although I know I'm missing much.  I did catch on in the middle of a discussion about Annie Dillard's policy on seclusion.  Here is Shawn Smucker's original piece, citing Dillard's statement on her website.

I’m sorry. I’ve never promoted myself or my books, but I used to give two public readings a year.
Now I can no longer travel, can’t meet with strangers, can’t sign books but will sign labels with SASE, can’t write by request, and can’t answer letters. I’ve got to read and concentrate. Why? Beats me.


Apparently, this caused quite a lot of commenting and Dillard-bashing, leading Andi from Andilit.com to post this response.  My favorite part of Andi's post is this:

Plus, whose to say she isn’t helping us, her community of writers, with her very writing? Like Shawn, my favorite writing text is hers: The Writing Life. In those pages she has given me more wisdom than she could ever give in an email.

I completely agree and have no problem with Dillard's seclusion.  She is fortunate that her amazing writing talent has been recognized and celebrated to the point where she can choose seclusion.  And even if we aren't able to financially sustain ourselves on our writing alone, we can all probably take a lesson on turning off the noise for a bit.

However, on the flipside, I will say that I gain much from my internet community, and I love to talk with writers of all skill-levels.  These relationships nourish me and encourage me in times of doubt.  I hope to always be able to engage in those relationships, yet I recognize that when one rises to the level of superstar of Dillard's proportion, the requests for one's time might become burdensome.  I would hope, then, that my writing will provide its own dialogue with my readers as Dillard's does with me.

Here is one Dillard quote that lights the fire within:
"The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price.  If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all."

That's what writing is for me, an attempt to discover the secret of seeing, a staggering after wisdom in whatever guise it chooses.

So be it.

4 comments:

mariegauthier said...

Lou-Lou is every bit your companion, of course you're worried and full of emotion!

I didn't know that Dillard was a recluse these days, but it doesn't surprise me. There are writers who thrive on attention, and others who feel that it bleeds them dry and require privacy. From what I've read of AD's, she's clearly the latter; her work is quietly beautiful & meditative.

Best to Lou-Lou! xo

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Marie.

As for A.D., I agree that some writers thrive on attention and others need silence. I guess I was just surprised that some people thought she had some kind of moral responsibility to actively engage with less established writers or her fans in general.

Perhaps writers are more of celebrities than I thought. :)

Kathleen said...

Yes, I'm fine with seclusion. And fine with relationship, and, like you, treasure the fine literary relationships online. They sort of allow both, in a way. As I identify strongly with Emily Dickinson, I do understand the reclusive urge.

Continued good wishes as you care for Lou-Lou.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Appreciate it.